Maynooth University the beaten finalists in the 2019-20 Irish Universities Harding Cup final have made it through to a second consecutive decider after coming out on top in the Dublin Regional qualifiers played on their home astro pitch.
The Co Kildare university will now take on NUI Galway who were successful in the South West area qualifiers which took place at the University of Limerick with the final set for Athlone Town Stadium this Friday (2.0).
BY John Hudson
After missing out last year due to the Covid-19 lockdowns the popular tournament exclusively for current first year university students returned this season.
Maynooth were first into action and eventually managed to hit five goals against DCU and collect maximum points in a 5-1 opening victory.
First half goals from Osaze Irhuc, Gerald Okoeguale and Athlone Town winger Jack Reynolds gave them the ideal start.
At one stage in the half DCU did get back to within a goal when Serjon Quelepeshi’s clipped effort deceived goalkeeper Andrew Skerritt. While earlier the Maynooth ‘keeper had saved a certain goal from Quelepeshi.
That was as good as it got for the Glasnevin side and second half goals from Okoeguale and a Reynolds penalty saw the home side take the honours.
DCU then faced Trinity College Dublin and quickly put the earlier defeat to Maynooth behind them to go into a 1-0 lead courtesy of a Charlie Moore low drive.
However Trinity proved the stronger and goals from Paul White and a Ben Cage penalty saw them come out on top and set up a final game showdown with Maynooth.
That game proved to be a cage affair in the first half with the side level at one apiece by the break.
Centre back Darragh Timmons headed Trinity into an early lead before Jack Reynolds equalised with a fine individual effort.
Maynooth finally got back in front when Timmons’ heavy challenge on Reynolds left referee Dave Gallagher with no option but to point to the spot and Job Bonda made no mistake to send Maynooth through to the final.
In the South West qualifiers played at the University of Limerick, NUI Galway took the spoils registering a 5-1 win over UCC followed by a hard fought 1-1 draw in the deciding final game against the home side.
UL looked impressive in their opening tie going 2-0 up on UCC with goals from Joey Rush and Dean Hegarty. But the Cork boys fought back and Ewan Lee and Tom Gardiner netted to gain them a draw.
Galway proved too strong for UCC and they got their bid to reach the final off on the front foot hitting five goals to see off the UCC challenge.
Rob Silke 2, Jack McCarthy, Dean O’Shea and Victor Udeze their scorers, with Lee hitting the Cork consolation goal.
The deciding game between Galway and UL ended in a 1-1 draw which saw the Corribsiders progress to Friday’s final.
Nathan Williams grabbed the UL goal and Silke with his third of the day was the Galway scorer.
Results for Tuesday January 25
CFAI Perpetual Cup (Round One)
IT Carlow ‘B’ 1 (Jack Simpson) IT Sligo 2 (Gary Gannon, Tom Jan).
CFAI Challenge Cup (Round One)
MTU Cork ‘B’ 1 (Ayomitide Alade) IT Sligo ‘B’ 5 (Niall Martyn 3, Jason Dwyer, Alex McFadden).
CFAI Eustace Cup (Round One)
MTU Cork ‘C’ v Waterford IT ‘C’, OFF.
IUFU Harding Cup – Dublin Regional Qualifiers
Maynooth University 5 (Jack Reynolds 2 -1 pen, Osaze Irhuc, Gerald Okoeguale) DCU 1 (Serjon Quelepeshi).
DCU 1 (Charlie Moore) Trinity College Dublin 2 (Paul White, Ben Cage).
Maynooth University 2 (Jack Reynolds, Job Bonda pen) Trinity College Dublin 1 (Darragh Timmons).
IUFU Harding Cup – Southwest Qualifiers
University of Limerick 2 (Joey Rush, Dean Hegarty) UCC 2 (Ewan Lee, Tom Gardiner)
UCC 1 (Ewan Lee) NUI Galway 5 (Rob Silke 2, Jack McCarthy, Dean O’Shea, Victor Udeze).
University of Limerick 1 (Nathan Williams) NUI Galway 1 (Rob Silke).