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Dublin: 5 °C Tuesday 26 March, 2019
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'I rank my Sigerson medals up there with my All-Ireland medal and county championships'

74-year-old Billy Morgan won his fifth Sigerson Cup title last night.

Kevin O’Brien reports from O’Moore Park

FOR THE FIFTH time in his life, Billy Morgan is a Sigerson Cup winner.

Billy Morgan UCC boss Billy Morgan. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

The legendary Cork football figure has been in charge of UCC for a decade and last night’s 0-16 to 1-9 victory over St Mary’s was his third triumph as manager from six final appearances.

Morgan also won Sigerson medals as a player with the college in 1965 and 1966.

He collected plenty of other honours as a player and manager over the years, namely three Celtic Crosses with Cork and four All-Ireland club crowns with Nemo Rangers, but the Sigerson Cup holds a special place in Morgan’s heart.

“Absolutely thrilled,” he said afterwards. “Thrilled because we’ve a good team, we’ve gone through the year unbeaten and you don’t to finish out by losing the last one.

“In my own (playing) career I won two Sigersons and I rank my Sigerson medals up there with my All-Ireland medal and county championships.

“I think it’s a very, very special competition. If you look down the years at the players who have competed in it and who became household names after it. And you’ll hear a lot more about some of these fellas.

Cian Kiely lifts the Sigerson Cup Cian Kiely lifts the Sigerson Cup. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

“This is what we were after all year. We felt that the last year and the year before we, I won’t say left it behind us, but didn’t ourselves justice. This year it was all or nothing.

“They always say it’s about the strength of the panel. We won the league missing some very good players – Sean O’Shea, Brian Ó Beaglaoich and Conor Geaney. They missed out through injury and club commitments.

“So they had to come back in, they’re good lads and wouldn’t be dodging training so somebody had to drop out. So it meant some of the players who won the league dropped out (of the team) but I knew we had very good subs.

“They were all ready to come in and in fairness, there were no gripes among them about being left out and they delivered when they came in.”

He was also critical of the GAA for failing to give the Sigerson a proper place in the calendar.

“I don’t know what Croke Park are trying to prove. They are making it harder, by bringing the league forward as they did last year.

“Anybody can see that the standard of football in the Sigerson is very high and I always say it’s a breeding ground for inter-county players.

Cian Kiely celebrates with the trophy UCC celebrate with the trophy. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

“If I were the GAA and inter-county managers I’d be promoting it because you saw that game tonight, it was as tough and physical as anything you’d get. In a clean way now I mean.”

It was UCC’s first triumph in the third-level competition since 2014. With their hurlers taking on Mary I in the Fitzgibbon Cup final on Saturday, the double bid remains very much on track.

“I can remember when I won my first Sigerson it was after 13 years so it can drag out,” Morgan said.

“When we won it the last time, the following year we were in the final with DCU and lost by a point in extra-time. They’re thin margins. Five years is a long time but it can drag on because there are so many good colleges there that can beat you.

“The soccer team won the Collingwood and we’re going for a double now with Fitzgibbon and Sigerson, we’re halfway there. Saturday’s game against Mary I is another tough game but they’ve come through a few tough battles themselves so they’ll be there or thereabouts.”

UCC last appeared in both the Sigerson and Fitzgibbon finals in 2013, but the hurlers fella to DIT on that occasion. UCC were also the last college to complete the double, doing so in 1988.

Source: HE GAA/YouTube

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Kevin O'Brien

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