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Champions UCC made to sweat before booking their place in the Sigerson Cup final

Tomorrow’s clash with DCU will be the hosts’ fifth final appearance in six years.

Source: HE GAA/YouTube

UCC 2-12
IT Carlow 0-8

Fintan O’Toole reports from the Mardyke in Cork

THE HOSTS GOT The job done in the Sigerson Cup today but UCC had to sweat for a while before booking a fifth final appearance in six years.

The reigning champions were overwhelming favourites to advance on their home patch in the Mardyke against IT Carlow yet they struggled to impose themselves in the first-half. IT Carlow were ahead at the break by 0-6 to 0-5 but UCC, shorn of Ian Maguire and Paul Geaney, emerged in a different mood in the second-half.

They controlled the match with Luke Connolly hammering home a 35th minute goal that set the tone and Thomas Hickey’s 49th minute goal wrapping up a comfortable win for Billy Morgan’s side. A towering midfield display by Gary O’Sullivan was central to UCC’s second-half dominance as they outscored their opponents by 2-7 to 0-2 in the second-half.

Luke Connolly celebrates scoring a goal Luke Connolly celebrates firing home UCC's first goal of the day. Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

In the opening period IT Carlow, participating at this stage for the first time, were well-drilled and organised. They trailed 0-3 to 0-1 after the opening quarter but then rolled off four points without reply. IT Carlow’s incisive runs drew fouls from UCC’s defence with Barry McHugh and Liam Boland punishing those indiscretions.

They went 0-5 to 0-3 in front with three minutes remaining until half-time and even though David Harrington and Conor Cox pulled points back, McHugh raised a white flag before the interval to send IT Carlow into the ascendancy on the scoreboard at the interval.

In the second-half, UCC quickly hit their stride. Cox was in electric form in the third quarter as he contributed 0-4 but the critical score was five minutes into the half. Harrington’s point attempt hung in the air and as Hickey went in to challenge, the ball was punched clear by IT Carlow goalkeeper Shane Murphy. However it fell kindly to Connolly and he smashed the ball to the net.

At the close of the third quarter, UCC were ahead 1-10 to 0-7 and they ran comfortably to the finish line from there. Their full-forward line of Hickey, Harrington and Cox wound up with 1-10 between them. Hickey struck home the second goal ten minutes from time, neatly sidestepping Murphy in goal after a flowing team move.

Thomas Hickey scores his side's second goal Thomas Hickey knocks home UCC's second goal. Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

At the back UCC were watertight in the second-half and they have booked a fifth final appearance in six years long before the final whistle. The chance to retain their title awaits them tomorrow afternoon.

Scorers for UCC: Conor Cox 0-7 (0-3f), Thomas Hickey 1-1 (0-1f), Luke Connolly 1-0, David Harrington 0-2, David Culhane, Shaun Keane 0-1 each.

Scorers for IT Carlow: Barry McHugh (0-1 ’45, 0-1f), Liam Boland (0-1f) 0-2 each, Shane Murphy (0-1f), Kevin Ryan, Anthony Forde, Brendan Murphy 0-1 each.

UCC

1. Michael Martin (Nemo Rangers, Cork)

18. Fergal McNamara (Austin Stacks, Kerry)
3. Jack McGuire (Listowel Emmetts, Kerry)
17. Padraig O’Connor (Legion, Kerry)

5. Conor Dorman (Bishopstown, Cork)
4. David Culhane (Ballylongford, Kerry)
7. Thomas Clancy (Fermoy, Cork)

9. Gary O’Sullivan (Listry, Kerry)
12. Sean Kiely (Ballincollig, Cork)

10. Shaun Keane (Legion, Kerry)
11. Luke Connolly (Nemo Rangers, Cork)
19. Brian O’Driscoll (Tadgh MacCárthaigh, Cork)

13. Thomas Hickey (Castleisland Desmonds, Kerry)
27. David Harrington (Adrigole, Cork)
15. Conor Cox (Listowel Emmetts, Kerry)

Sub
23. Alan O’Donovan (Nemo Rangers, Cork) for Dorman (50)

IT CARLOW

1. Shane Murphy (Kilcummin, Kerry)

2. Thomas O’Connell (Rathangan, Kildare)
6. Thomas Featherston (Oran, Roscommon)
7. Eoin Walsh (Moycullen, Galway)

5. Eoin Lynch (Longwood, Meath)
4. Declan Smyth (Dunsany, Meath)
3. Conor Lawlor (Palatine, Carlow)

8. Will Young (Clonaslee St Manman’s, Laois)
9. Mark Sherry (Two Mile House, Kildare)

12. Anthony Forde (Moynalvey, Meath)
11. Anthony Dever (Lahardane, Mayo)
10. Kevin Ryan (Summerhill, Meath)

13. Liam Boland (Moyle Rovers, Tipperary)
22. Brendan Murphy (Rathvilly, Carlow)
15. Barry McHugh (Mountbellew/Moylough)

Subs
30. Marcus Mangan (Milltown-Castlemaine) for Dever (half-time)
23. Chris Conroy (Lavey) for McHugh (44)

DCU pull off brilliant comeback against UCD to book their place in the Sigerson final

About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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