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Moloney's sensational late winner seals first O'Connor Cup title for DCU since 2011

DCU got the better of University of Limerick in a thrilling final at Abbotstown this afternoon.

Dublin City University (DCU) 2-12

University of Limerick (UL) 0-17

Emma Duffy reports from Abbotstown

CAPTAIN FANTASTIC AISHLING Moloney swung over a sensational late winner as Dublin City University edged UL to be crowned Gourmet Food Parlour O’Connor Cup champions for the first time since 2011.

UL v DCU - Gourmet Food Parlour HEC O'Connor Cup Final The DCU team celebrate their O'Connor Cup success. Source: Eóin Noonan/SPORTSFILE

There was just a single point in the difference at Abbotstown, and fittingly it was skipper Moloney who settled a gripping tie in the dying seconds.

The Tipperary ace finished with 0-7 to her name, while goals from Cavan’s Aisling Sheridan and Mayo’s Sarah Rowe helped the Dublin college past the holders to victory.

Cork sharpshooter Eimear Scally bagged 0-11 at the other end, while Grace Kelly and Shauna Howley hit 0-3 apiece.

But ultimately, DCU did just enough to seal the win in a fiery affair.

Even when reduced to 14 with Moloney sent to the sin-bin, they withstood a period of dominance from UL, which saw Scally’s pristine free-taking to the fore.

It was UL who drew first blood through Mayo’s Grace Kelly before DCU showed their intent immediately at the other end, Moloney getting the ball rolling.

As the sides settled into the encounter, the vicious speed and tempo was evident from the get-go.

The first goal of the game came with 16 minutes on the clock — Mayo forward Niamh Kelly’s effort dropped short, but Sheridan bundled the ball over the line following a scramble to make it 1-3 to 0-3.

Kelly and her sister, Grace, exchanged points moments after, as they went head-to-head for the first time ever.

UL v DCU - Gourmet Food Parlour HEC O'Connor Cup Final Sarah Rowe and Moloney celebrate DCU's win. Source: Eóin Noonan/SPORTSFILE

As half time approached, Scally kept frees ticking over while Rowe closed proceedings at the break with the score reading 1-7 to 0-7.

On the restart, UL raised the tempo with Fiona McHale and Louise Ward working hard around the middle. And just as Moloney was shown a yellow card for a challenge on Laurie Ryan, they started to claw their way on top.

Scally’s expert kicking from frees continued while Howley produced two stunning efforts to swing the momentum in their favour.

But then came Moloney back to the field after her 10-minute stint in the bin. Straight into the thick of the action, she was involved in the attack which resulted in a DCU penalty.

Rowe stepped up to find the back of the net despite Caoimhe Moore getting her fingertips to it, and the same player added a point straight after.

UL v DCU - Gourmet Food Parlour HEC O'Connor Cup Final Captain Moloney lifts the trophy. Source: Eóin Noonan/SPORTSFILE

Scally levelled matters at the other end directly after, but it took a moment of magic from Moloney at the death to ensure the O’Connor Cup would head to DCU.

Scorers for DCU: Aishling Moloney 0-7 (3f), Sarah Rowe 1-3 (1-0 pen, 0-1f), Aisling Sheridan 1-1, Niamh Kelly 0-1.

Scorers for UL: Eimear Scally 0-11 (10f), Grace Kelly & Shauna Howley 0-3 each.

DCU: E Ní Eafa; L McGinley, K Murray, D Geaney; E Rutledge, L Caffrey, H Hegarty; M Atkinson, L Magee; N Kelly, A Moloney, V Wall; A Sheridan, S Rowe, A Cleary.

Subs: A Murphy for V Wall (47), N Rickard for Rutledge (58)

UL: C Moore; A Kelleher, M Curley, S Murphy; L Ryan, A Healy, F McHale; L Ward, S Kelly; S Howley, L Rogers, A McCarthy; R Howard, E Scally, G Kelly.

Subs: A Davoren for Howard (h.t.), O O’Dwyer for Healy (h.t.), A Considine for Kelleher (48), J Cregg for McCarthy (54).

Source: LadiesFootballTV/YouTube

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Emma Duffy

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