In one of the success stories of the Sigerson Cup so far, TU Dublin have made the headlines with their performances in the competition.
After defeating ATU Galway in the first round, they caused the shock of the tournament when they defeated University of Limerick in a penalty shoot-out in the Limerick grounds.
Containing a squad that had several inter county players, UL were expected by many to claim victory, except TU Dublin didn't read the script, and are now into the quarter-finals of the competition.
The Dublin college are managed by co-managers Eoghan O'Grady and Adam Doran, who have done an incredible job developing this TU Dublin side.
Speaking to Balls after last night's victory, Doran has been impressed with how side have progressed, but his keen to keep their feet firmly on the ground despite last night's win.
"The mood last night has been the mood of all year-quietly confident. We have been very much coming in under the radar, and that sometimes is a nice place to be.We were quietly confident going down there. We had belief in our ability, and all you can do is go out, get your matchups right, win your individual battles, and hope for a bit of the rub of the green, and see where it takes you. Last night, we got all three of them."
It was a game that had absolutely everything. After UL took an early lead, they built on it to take a six point lead into the interval. However, TU Dublin came roaring back with a blistering start to the second half.
The Dublin side almost won in normal time, before a last-gasp point from UL sent the game to extra-time. At half-time, Doran said the message was clear to his side on what needed to change.
To steady the ship and believe in ourselves. As long as we play to our system, and play with the aggression that we can bring, we knew we would get an opportunity to get back into the game. It's just a matter of when.
I wasn't surprised because we done it against DCU in the league, but didn't get the right side of the result. I wasn't surprised, maybe with the speed at which it happened at, you could argue it's surprising, but I knew we could get an opportunity to get back into the game.
It was tough. We had a four point upper in the last five or six minutes, and credit to UL, they got it back, and they didn't get it back through a sloppy goal, they got it back through hard work, patience and recycling the ball with scores, they need to be given credit for that.
It was tough to take, they scored the equaliser with the second last kick of the game. They done it in extra-time, they scored with the very last kick of the game. At that stage, there was very,very little between both sides.
After providing an incredible spectacle of football, with free flowing attacking play from both sides, penalties was the only way to seperate them.
The TU Dublin co-manager admitted that while they didn't have the time to prepare for this unique scenario, he was confident of his side progression in the shoot-out.
TUD INTO SIGERSON CUP QUARTER-FINALS AFTER WIN ON PENALTIES OVER UL😳✅
TUD have pulled off a major shock defeating last year’s beaten finalists. It was a thrilling encounter with an incredible second-half comeback from TUD, before a late resurgence from UL at two stages. pic.twitter.com/OKyVeiRaOP
— GAA Editz (@Gaa_editz) January 17, 2023
We thanked all our players, win, lose or draw at that stage, they done us proud, they done themselves proud, and we were ready to accept whatever faith came our way.
Your timeframe and contact time with your college players is so limited because there's club commitments, there is exam commitments, there is inter-county commitments. You don't get an awful lot of time, so whatever you do, you have to practice.
The thought was there, but we never actually practiced it. We had every faith in Josh Finlay, we knew he was going to save one, it was just a matter of how many we were going to score."
Now that TU Dublin have progressed to the quarter-finals, you could forgive them for dreaming of the ultimate prize. However their feet is firmly on the ground.
Eoghan O'Grady has insisted that "we are a process in progress. The lads are buying into this concept, and the know we will have to be even better the next day out."
For Doran, he wants to ensure that the team have the best possible experience in college football.
As a management team, all we wanted to do was leave the team in a better place than we found it. Leave it with a better setup than we found it, and that's not to say it was a bad setup, that was just our aim.
Playing Sigerson football and playing college/third level level education is a rite of passage for every young man, and we all we wanted to do was make sure these guys had a really terrific GAA experience in the college, particularly those in fourth year it's their last year.
After that, everything is a bonus. If we win one game, if we win two games, if we win three games, everything is a bonus."