CONOR DORMAN WAS the scoring hero as his last-gasp point delivered Sigerson Cup glory for UCC against UUJ tonight in Belfast.
UCC were the 7/2 outsiders entering this game against a star-studded UUJ side and had to play without the suspended Alan Cronin, who had lost his appeal against a red card in yesterday’s semi-final against NUI Maynooth.
But UCC’s brilliant work ethic helped them claim a famous triumph and deliver UCC’s 21st Sigerson Cup title. They lifted the crown for the second time in four years under the guidance of Rebels legend Billy Morgan and they also avenged last year’s final loss to Dublin IT.
All the momentum lay with UUJ entering the finale after they had struck six points without reply to draw level and were backed by a strong wind. But UCC broke upfield with Conor Cox spraying the ball across for centre-back Dorman to land the vital point.
It was UCC who had impressed in the first-half as they lead by 0-6 to 0-2 at the interval. Attacker Conor Cox was also excellent in that opening period with his point-taking as he contributed five points.
UUJ struggled against the wind and their shooting was generally poor. It took them 21 minutes to finally get off the mark through Mattie Donnelly.
UUJ’s fortunes did not improve immediately after the break with UCC working the ball impressively against the wind to extend their lead to 0-9 to 0-2 by the 39th minute.
Tyrone’s Conor McAliskey cut the gap to six points in the 44th minute and then UUJ hit their stride in the final quarter. Monaghan duo Kieran Hughes and Rory Beggan hit a point apiece while Ronan O’Neill was the star of the show as he raised four white flags.
He thumped over an outstanding point from distance to level the game at 0-9 apiece in the 58th minute and UUJ looked poise to win the game. But UCC intervened courtesy of Dorman to claim the spoils.
Scorers for UCC: Conor Cox 0-6 (0-5f), Tom Clancy, Michael Quinlivan, Luke Connolly, Conor Dorman 0-1 each.
Scorers for UUJ: Ronan O’Neill 0-4 (0-2f), Kieran Hughes 0-2 (0-2f), Rory Beggan (0-1 ’45), Matthew Donnelly, Conor McAliskey 0-1 each.
UCC: Brian Kelly (Kerry); David Culhane (Kerry), Eoin O’Mahony (Cork), Fergal McNamara (Kerry); Tom Clancy (Cork), Conor Dorman (Cork), Brian Shanahan (Cork); David Nation (Cork), Ian Maguire (Cork); Luke Connolly (Cork), Sean Keane (Kerry), Brian O’Driscoll (Cork); Conor Cox (Kerry), Michael Quinlivan (Tipperary), Paul Geaney (Kerry).
UUJ: Rory Beggan (Monaghan); Barry Tierney (Tyrone), Chrissy McKaigue (Derry), Dean McNally (Tyrone); Luke Keaney (Donegal), Colin Walshe (Monaghan), Killian Clarke (Cavan); Matthew Donnelly (Tyrone), Nial McKeever (Antrim); Kieran Hughes (Monaghan), Ronan O’Neill (Tyrone), Danny Savage (Down); Jamie Clarke (Armagh), Caolan O’Boyle (Derry), Conor McAlliskey (Tyrone).
Referee: Joe McQuillan (Cavan)