As far as first matches go this opening round game for the Dundalk Colleges was little more than a rigorous training session.
Full forward Daniel McKeown smashed three goals and three points beyond the Dublin team as Leslie Toal’s men merely stretched their legs in Malahide on Friday afternoon.
With tougher opposition ahead, Toal spoke of his hope for a home draw for his Dundalk team, having had to play away fixtures two out of the last three years.
Still there was much to admire from the professional manner in which the Colleges side went about dispatching their Dublin opponents. Bar a ten minute spell at the start of the first half, they commanded and bossed Malahide CS and should have won by an even greater margin had certain chances been taken.
Robbie Curran was the first to breach the home defence on three minutes with a simple clipped point. Josh Arrowsmith almost raised the green flag almost immediately afterwards when he tested Malahide number one Kevin Morris with a stinging drive.
Indeed another goal went a begging when Dean Maguire decided to settle for a point when he was one-on-one with Morris. In retrospect his decision showed maturity on the young man’s part.
It was down to McKeown to dominate the match for the next fifteen minutes. The Colleges full forward proved a thorn in Malahide’s side throughout the game and was always on hand to snatch a goal in the danger area at all times.
His first was a fisted effort after Morris in the home goal failed to hold on to a dangerous high ball. His second came after Karl McDonnell swung over a wonderful free in the 18th minute. Robbie Curran was the provider of that goal. Curran muscled his way through the Malahide defence before off-loading to McKeown and there was little chance of the diminutive poacher missing from that range.
With points from Dean Maguire and Ross Kehoe extending the visitors lead to ten points after twenty minutes, McKeown completed his hat-trick with another fisted effort similar to his first goal.
Four more points were rattled off before the half ceased, leaving the Colleges side ahead by seventeen.
The game may have ceased as a contest but Malahide showed some grit in the opening exchanges of the second half. A double substitution for the Dublin boys seemed to reinvigorate their cause.
Despite a point from Kehoe for the Louth men, a dubious penalty was ably converted by Malahide’s Daniel McEvoy to add a certain respectability to the scoreline.
Still, it was a short reprieve, as Toal’s men put away six points in the last sixteen minutes to run out more than convincing winners and progress into the next round with energy to spare.
Full time: Dundalk Colleges 3-16, Malahide CS 1-2
Scorers Dundalk Colleges Daniel McKeown (3-3), Karl McDonnell (0-2, 2f), Josh Arrowsmith (0-2), Robbie Curran (0-2), Ross Kehoe (0-2), Dean Maguire (0-2), Ciaran Sheridan (0-1, 45’), Taghd McEneaney (0-1, 1f), Adam Lynch (0-1).
Malahide CS Daniel McEvoy (1-1), Darragh Walsh (0-1).
Dundalk Colleges: Gavin Douglas, James Loughran, Conor Lenehan, Stephen Bellew, Peter Thornton, Cillian Kirk, Ciaran Sheridan, Joseph Hanna, Karl McDonnell, Josh Arrowsmith, Robbie Curran, Ross Kehoe, Paddy Byrne, Dean Maguire, Daniel McKeown. Subs: Tadhg McEneaney for P Byrne, 40 mins; Matthew Corcoran for R Kehoe, 40 mins; Adam Lynch for J Hanna, 48 mins; Ross Murphy for C Lenehan, 55 mns.
Malahide CS: Kevin Morris, Eoin Kennedy, Eoghan Hamill, Stephen Morgan, Alan Kavanagh, Kevin McLoughney, Cian O’Scolai, Stephen McConny, Darragh Walsh, Jamie Storey, Daniel McEvoy, Sean McMahon, Michael Shiel, Liam Watson, Kevin O’Flynn. Subs: Lee Duffy for S McMahon, 33 mins; Dylan Connolly for S Morgan, 33 mins; Sean Keating for J Storey, 44 mins. Booked: A Kavanagh, 21 mins; E Hamill 55 mins.
WIDES: Dundalk Colleges 11(6 first half), Malahide CS 4 (2 first half).