Dublin University AFC remain a point off the top of LSL Sunday Senior 1B thanks to a hard-fought win over Mount Merrion at Santry Avenue on Sunday afternoon.
A brace from striker Ronan Hanaphy was enough to see the students past their south Dublin opponents, who pulled one back late on through Sam Lenehan.
Dublin University had beaten the same opponents 5-0 on their own turf in the first game of the season but a lot has changed for both sides in the interim.
The visitors dominated possession for the opening 20 minutes before Dublin University got a hold on the game.
The same pattern unfolded in the second half, until Dublin University manager Richie Maguire made a tactical change to revert to a 4-4-2, giving them more of a foothold in midfield.
They made the breakthrough 20 minutes from time, Chris Allen crossing for Hanaphy, who finished well into the top corner. Hanaphy doubled his tally in similar circumstances from a counter-attack.
Lenehan got one back a minute from time after dispossessing a defender in the box, but they couldn’t find a second.
“They were better than when we played them at the start of the year,” Maguire told the Dublin Gazette.
“They had a lot of possession early on in both halves, and we had to adapt to that, but we had all the chances.”
The result leaves Dublin University a point behind leaders Mullingar Athletic with three games in hand.
A litany of injuries to experienced players, and others lost to exams, means they’ll struggle for consistency as they clear their fixture backlog. Star player Oisin Pennycock left due to medical studies.
Robbie Gaul broke his leg in what Maguire described as a ‘bloodbath’ against Kilnamanagh and Dean Gaynor suffered a serious neck injury outside football.
“The team that played Mount Merrion, there were probably only four who played against them in the first game.
“Even though the team is decent, it’s not as good as it was at the start of the season because of injuries and boys pulling out for other reasons.”