12 February 2017
Amid scenes of wild excitement DCU made history by finally capturing the Irish Universities Harding Cup for the first time ever in dramatic style with a winner in the final minutes of extra time against UCC at College Park.
Photo Credit: Ed Scannell
Centre back Conor McKenna was the Glasnevin side's hero when he met a perfectly placed free kick from Fergal O'Donoghue to power a header past UCC 'keeper Cathal O'Hanlon with two minutes remaining.
The hard fought final played out in extremely testing conditions remained scoreless at the end of 90 minutes thanks mainly to the heroics of O'Hanlon who made a succession of top class saves to keep out efforts by Jack O'Connor, Jamie Lennon and Sean McCarthy.
O'Connor finally made the break through five minutes into extra time when he ran clear of the Cork defence to take the ball wide of the advancing O'Hanlon and coolly rolled it home to put DCU in front .
This was the talented Cherry Orchard striker's fifth goal in three games which helped earn him the Player of the Tournament Award.
UCC quickly bounced back and they were level minutes later when a swift counter attack saw DCU 'keeper Lee Doyle save from a Tom Stephenson only for David Dalton to smash home the rebound.
So it was all square and a penalty shoot out looming until McKenna's late winner to begin the DCU celebrations.
DCU: Lee Doyle: Stephen Lawlor, Conor McKenna, Jack Traynor, Karl Melling; Sean McCarthy, Conor Sutton, Jamie Lennon, Colman O'Brien, Fergal O'Donoghue; Jack O'Connor.
SUBS: Niall Butler (for O'Brien 70 mins), Daniel Forde (for Butler 90 mins),Sam McCullough, David O'Hanlon, Solley O'Connor, Aaron Ralph, Paul Ryan.
UCC: Cathal O'Hanlon: John Buttimer, Darragh Baldwin, Dylan Hemmingway, Alex O'Brien; Luke Moynihan, Jack Douglas, Cormac Cotter, Eoin Kelly; David Dalton, Billy Cronin.
SUBS: Olusegun Duyile (for Cotter h-t), Tom Stephenson (Cronin 57 mins), Daniel O'Flaherty, Dylan Bradley, Conor Walsh, Brian Barry, Desmond Archer.
REFEREE: John McCarthy Assistants: Brendan Clarke, Derek Rooney.