IOHA Senior Mens League Report 17/02/2013

With three matches in the Senior Men’s league it was a busy weekend of handball. The weekend’s matches would further shape the shape up to the Final play offs in June.
The first match up was DCU versus Lughnasa on Saturday 16th February in DCU. Lughnasa were without their main attacking threat, Alan O’Brien. It showed in the result and was plain to see throughout the game. While the players from Lughnasa would complain of the ban on sticky in the venue, with five Irish players in the side, they struggled to take control of the game. DCU played an excellent game. In attack, DCU were more threatening from more positions. While the game was close, DCU were always in front. At a crucial moment in the second half, Lughnasa managed to come within one goal. Two fast breaks later and DCU opened the gap once again. It continued in this vein. DCU gain a well deserved victory, the final score was DCU 24-18 Lughnasa. A bad day at the office for Lughnasa and a good one for DCU. DCU remain a side with so much promise. Many matches could have gone their way, a loss by two to Astra despite leading by six at half time, a loss by three to UCC despite trialling by eight at half time. DCU are the inconsistent team of the season and that season will be over in a flash, unless they begin to get the results they require; they play UCD in a week, DCU in a fortnight and DI one week after that. The result today means that there is a chance they can still qualify for the play-offs.

The second match of the weekend was UCD versus DI on Sunday 17th February in UCD. DI have an incredible record in the Mens League. Unbeaten in several season, they have not looked challenged this year. UCD lying at the bottom of the table, having conceded more than 200 goals so far this year, DI would not be expected to lose this game. UCD fought tirelessly and took an early lead. DI seemed to take 10-15 minutes to settle into the game properly. Some uncharacteristic mistakes gave UCD some hope of an upset. But DI slowly began to edge ahead. By half time, the score-line was respectable considering how UCD have faired against other teams in the league; UCD 9 – 16 DI. DI were more purposeful in the second half, they converted more attempts and defended more strongly against UCD than in the first half. A better performance for the triple league champions. While the match was notable for 10 suspensions, the most so far this season, it was a physical and hard fought victory. DI should be proud as UCD were not easily beaten. With better attackers, UCDs fight could have upset the champions. The final score was UCD 17-37 DI. An expected result given the sides performances so far this year.
The final match of the weekend was Astra versus Sligo IT in Loughlinstown on Sunday 17th February. The opening five minutes were tetchy, both teams were nervous at the beginning of the match, they traded goals and the scores were level at this early part of the game. But a period of lapse cost Sligo IT the game, they young college players did not score for almost 15 minutes, despite both teams taking a time-out. Astra streaked ahead. A flurry of goals near the end of the first half put a gloss on a one-sided affair. The scores stood Astra 23-8 Sligo IT. Sligo IT put more effort into the second half, the defence was shored up and Astra were not given as much latitude to score the easy goal. Sligo IT had a tough time with few subs, their attack could have been more threatening. Sligo’s second half was a case of better defence but feeble attack, the final scores would be Astra 37-14 Sligo IT. A step back for Sligo who had been showing ever more promise with each game played in the senior league this year.