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Dublin: 15°C Thursday 29 October 2020
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Late drama as Cork's Coleman shows nerves of steel to send UCC to Fitzgibbon decider

The reigning champions will seek to defend their crown against IT Carlow next week.

The second semi-final also took place in DCU.
The second semi-final also took place in DCU.
Image: Tom O'Hanlon/INPHO

DCU 0-17

UCC 0-18

Sinéad Farrell reports from DCU Sportsground

A LATE SIDELINE from Cork star Mark Coleman sealed a dramatic victory for defending champions UCC over DCU, and book their place in the Fitzgibbon Cup final.

A thrilling spectacle in a biting crossfield wind looked to be heading for extra-time, before Coleman’s late heroics proved decisive for the Cork university.

In a contest of long-range shooting, frees were paramount to both sides. Wexford’s Rory O’Connor hit an impressive 10 points from dead balls for DCU, while Shane Conway converted seven frees for the victors.

While it was certainly a nail-biting finish, UCC missed some vital goal opportunities that could have changed the complexion of the game, with Shane Conway and Shane Kingston both coming close to rattling the net.

The DCU goalkeeper Oisin Foley was in lively form however, as the battle for a place in the final went right down to the wire.

UCC got out of the traps quicker as they built up a 0-5 0-1 lead after 13 minutes. They also created the first of their goal chances during this early period which would have pressed their advantage further.

mark-coleman-with-the-winning-side-line Mark Coleman looks on as his last-gasp sideline point sends UCC back into the Fitzgibbon Cup final. Source: Tom O'Hanlon/INPHO

But James Burke’s effort was kept out by DCU keeper Foley as O’Connor tapped over a free at the other end to to cut the gap to three.

Another goal chance for DCU followed at the end of the first quarter when Darragh Fitzgibbon fed the ball into the onrunning Kingston, but again, Foley was equal to the attempt.

UCC assumed control of proceedings as they hit four points without reply in two minutes. Conway started the burst with his fourth free of the afternoon while Mark Kehoe, Robbie O’Flynn and Kingston all stepped up to split the posts.

James Bergin interrupted that run by hitting a crucial long-range point for DCU after 20 minutes, followed by three points from O’Connor to leave them trailing by just two.

Donal Burke and Adrian Mullen completed DCU’s first-half comeback by landing the final two points to leave the scorline reading 0-11 each at the break.

neil-montgomery Substitute Neil Montgomery finished with two points for the victorious UCC. Source: Tom O'Hanlon/INPHO

O’Connor started the second half by converting five more frees, including one he earned himself, as DCU ascended into a three-point lead after 46 minutes.

Fitzgibbon had another goal chance for UCC but Mullen was well-positioned to smother the shot.

A tense final 10 minutes unfolded as the defending champions rallied again and registered three points without reply through substitutes Neil Montgomery and Michael O’Halloran, as well as a free from Conway.

But DCU still had the advantage, and came close to snatching a late goal after some wayward passing in the UCC defence saw Shane Hurley lose possession.

But the Fitzgibbon Cup holders recovered to grab the final two scores of the game, including that glorious Coleman sideline to put them back in next week’s final.

Once again, DCU will be the venue as IT Carlow look to dethrone the Cork university on Wednesday evening.

 Scorers for DCU: Rory O’Connor (0-11, 10f), James Bergin (0-2), James Burke, Darren Mullen, Adrian Mullen and Donal Burke (0-1 each).

Scorers for UCC: Shane Conway (0-8 7f), Neil Montgomery (0-2), Shane Kingston (0-3), Mark Coleman, Robbie O’Flynn, Mark Kehoe, Darragh Fitzgibbon and Michael O’Halloran (0-1 each).

DCU

1. Oisin Foley (Crossabeg Ballymurn/Wexford)

2. Lee Gannon (Whitehall Colmcilles/Dublin)
3. Paddy Smyth (Clontarf/Dublin)
4. Conor Firman (St Martin’s/Wexford)

5. Brian Ryan (South Liberties/Limerick)
6. Conor Burke (St Vincent’s/Dublin)
7. Evan Shefflin (Ballyhale Shamrocks/Kilkenny)

8. Damien Reck (Oylegate Glenrien/Wexford)
29. Donal Burke (Na Fianna/Dublin)

10. John Donnelly (Thomastown/Kilkenny)
11. Rian McBride (St Vincent’s/Dublin)
12. James Burke (Naas/Kildare)

13. Rory O’Connor (St Martin’s/Wexford)
14. Jim Ryan (Rower Inisteoige/Kilkenny)
15. James Bergin (Conahy Shamrocks/Kilkenny)

Subs: 

25. Darren Mullen (Ballyhale Shamrocks/Kilkenny) for Shefflin (23 mins)
28. Adrian Mullen (Ballyhale Shamrocks/Kilkenny) for Ryan (26 mins)
20. Fergal Whitely (Kilmacud Crokes/Dublin) for J Burke (51 mins)
30. Fintan MacGibb (Setanta/Dublin) for Bergin (60 mins)

UCC

1. Shane Hurley (St Finbarrs/Cork)
2.David Lowney (Clonakilty/Cork)
34. Robert Downey (Glen Rovers/Cork)
4. David Griffin (Carrigaline/Cork)

5. Mark Coleman (Blarney/Cork)
6. Paddy O’Loughlin (Kilmallock/Limerick)
7. Niall O’Leary (Castleyons/Cork)

19. Paddy Cadell (JK Brackens, Tipperary)
17. Darragh Fitzgibbon (Charleville)

10. Robbie O’Flynn (Erin’s Own)
11. Conor Boylan (Na Piarsaigh)
12. Shane Conway (Lixnaw) 

18. Killian O’Dwyer (Killenaule, Tipperary)
14. Shane Kingston (Douglas)
15. Mark Kehoe (Kilsheelin-Kilcash)

Subs:
13. O’Halloran (Blackrock/Cork) for Griffin (38 mins)
27. Montgomery (Abbeyside/Waterford) for Boylan (43 mins)
8. Casey (Ballyduff/Waterford) for Fitzgibbon (61 mins)

Referee: Fergal Horgan (Tipperary)

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