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Under cloudy skies on the green, green grass of St Vincent’s garden, the Big V fell to a Combined Dublin Universities outfit that proved bigger, faster and more purposeful than the visitors. 
After looking an accomplished unit against Na Piarsaigh last Friday, the VAFA team found both the conditions and its opponent difficult to counter. The men in green opened their account with an “under” at 6 minutes and then an “over” a minute later. Ash Close snuck in a behind before the Dubliners overed again. Nine minutes – half of the quarter – had elapsed and the Big V was down by 12-1, despite kicking with a freezing and ferocious gale. Brendan Goss and Close both overed but the recovery was short-lived as the home team netted a penalty to finish the quarter.  A thirteen point deficit at the first change hardly matched expectations.
The second term seemed a sharper effort, but the scoreboard didn’t reflect it. Bart Walsh and Ben Smithwick struck threes in rapid succession, but in the fourth minute, the Irish atoned with another sixer and then a three. It was a case of “anything you can do, I can do better”.  Tom Paule, with a nice assist from Adam “9 ½” Weekes, booted an over, but the Varsities belted three more themselves. A Goss strike hit the woodwork, and Gus Patti failed by an inch to tap one into the back of the net. The Big V went to the break looking more potent, but now 22 points down.
That half-time margin was the largest of the game, as the Vics hit back hard in the third, with seven shots to just two from the Combine. The downside was that each team scored two overs, both Vic scores to Goss, but the margin at the lemons had only slightly contracted to 17 points.
The last stanza again failed to produce results for effort. Again, the Ammos outshot the Dubliners, but on the scoreboard, they slipped further behind. Team Manager Brian Goodman awarded the Spirit of the Big V to
Tom Paule, who played with dash all afternoon. Others to shine included Dimitri Dimakopoulos, Ben Smithwick, Ned Hunt, Adam Weekes and Pete Summers, while Ross Young, Bede Mahon and Adam Bentick  ran as hard as their legs and lungs allowed. However, this was a day on which there was entirely too much chasing, particularly as so many of the Vics had for four days been burning the shoe leather, soaking up all the sights in Galway and Dublin.
The contingent of travelling VAFA fans continues to impress. We’ve seen Chris, Bernadette, and Sarah Mahon and Marlya Bell, all supporting vice-captain Bede Mahon; Dominic, Clare, Xavier, Ignatius, Martha and Jade Walsh screaming for the versatile Bart; Peter and Chris Swinburne cheering for courageous Glenn Costas; and the Paules – Spiro, Connie and Charlotte – yelling for Tommy. Still, such fervent support wasn’t quite enough this day. Samuel Beckett once said, “Dublin university contains the cream of Ireland, rich and thick”. Now we know they have some pretty fine footballers too. 
The Big V team travels to the residence of the Australian Ambassador tomorrow evening and will face the All-Ireland team in Cavan on Friday night.
Dublin Universities
2-2-2 (20) 3-6-2 (38)  3-8-2 (44)  4-10-3 (57)
0-2-1 (7) 0-5-1 (16)  0-7-6 (27) 0-10-9 (39)
VAFA Overs/Behinds: Goss 5.2, Close 2.1, Smithwick 1.1, Paule 1.0, Walsh 1.0, Summers 0.4, Adam Collett 0.1

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