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NUIG's Finnerty strikes 1-9 but champions UCC survive test to progress in Sigerson Cup

There was plenty action elsewhere in the Electric Ireland Sigerson Cup today.

Sean O'Shea was in action for UCC today.
Sean O'Shea was in action for UCC today.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

UCC 2-12
NUI Galway 1-14

Declan Rooney reports from Dangan

SIGERSON CUP CHAMPIONS UCC held on by the skin of their teeth this afternoon as NUI Galway missed a 66th minute free that would have sent this first round game in Dangan to extra-time.

Rob Finnerty was outstanding for NUI Galway and his 1-9 tally dragged the Galway side back into contention after UCC recovered from a sluggish start to take control on this first round game.

Goals from James McEntee and Rory Cunningham gave UCC a seven-point lead at one stage in the first-half, but Finnerty’s goal lifted them again.

Despite his Corofin commitments next week, NUI Galway captain Kieran Molloy was brought on for the second half and his point kept them in touch, but Killian Spillane and Diarmuid O’Connor efforts got UCC over the line as Dessie Connelly missed a late leveller.

In the midst of a downpour NUI Galway got off to a brilliant start against last year’s champions. Lining out with Conneely and Finnerty as a two man full-forward line, with Patrick O’Donnell sweeping for his side, there was plenty of room for the dangerous inside men to operate in.

Finian Ó Laoi got NUI Galway’s first point when a goal chance seemed to be there for the taking, while Finnerty’s point on the turn was added to when Ó Laoi cut in off the right and landed a sweet score. Ó Laoi, Nathan Mullen and Finnerty linked up again as NUIG took a 0-4 to 0-0 lead after five minutes.

While their start may have been slow there was nothing slack about the next 11 minutes from UCC. The hit an unanswered 2-5 including goals from McEntee and Galway native Cunningham, while two Sean O’Shea frees – he was well marshalled by Eoin O’Donoghue – and two points from Mark Cronin, including one marked effort, put them 2-5 to 0-4 clear.

Finnerty was the big danger man for the Galway side though. He landed two great points to settle his side, and then somehow found himself unmarked inside seven minutes from half time and he beat Eoghan O’Brien with ease.

Further points from Ó Laoi and a Finnerty mark meant the hosts deserved to be within one point at the break, as UCC led 2-7 to 1-9 at half-time.

The arrival of Molloy in the NUIG team gave UCC something to think about, but a Finnerty point soon had the Galway side level. Ó Laoi and goalkeeper Ronan O Beloain both kicked wides for NUIG as they sought the lead but they could never claim it back.

O’Connor and Spillane kicked good points for UCC either side of a great Molloy score, but despite their best efforts NUI Galway couldn’t takes their chances and the champions survived.

Scorers for UCC: Rory Cunningham 1-1, James McEntee 1-1, Mark Cronin 0-3 (0-1f, 0-1 mark), Sean O’Shea 0-2 (0-2f),Diarmuid O’Connor 0-1, Killian Spillane 0-1, Cian Gammell 0-1, Brian Hartnett 0-1, Colm O’Callaghan 0-1.

Scorers for NUI Galway: Rob Finnerty 1-9 (0-3f, 0-1 mark), Finian Ó Laoi 0-3, Kieran Molloy 0-1.

UCC

1. Eoghan O’Brien (Churchill, Kerry)

3. Liam O’Donovan (Clonakilty, Cork)
4. Daniel O’Brien (Glenflesk, Kerry)
6. Michael Flood (St Bridget’s, Meath)

23. Ross Dunphy (Éire Óg, Carlow)
24. Brian Hartnett (Douglas, Cork)
7. James McEntee (Curraha, Meath)

8. Padraig Lucey (Legion, Kerry)
29. Padraig Feehan (Killenaule, Tipperary)

10. Sean O’Shea (Kenmare, Kerry)
11. Killian Spillane (Templenoe, Kerry)
33. Colm O’Callaghan (Éire Óg, Cork)

17. Mark Cronin (Nemo Rangers, Cork)
31. Rory Cunningham (St Brendan’s, Galway)
14. James Naughton (St Senan’s, Limerick)

Subs

9. Diarmuid O’Connor (Na Gaeil,Kerry) for Feehan (46)
32. Gary Murphy (Castletownbere, Cork) for Cunninghan (51)
26. Colm Barrett (St Finbarr’s, Cork) for Spillane (57)

NUI Galway

1. Ronan Ó Beolain (Michael Breathnach, Galway)

17. Kevin Carr (Newtown Blues, Louth)
3. Eoin O’Donoghue (Belmullet, Mayo)
2. Stephen Brennan (Claremorris, Mayo)

13. Patrick O’Donnell (Oilean Arann, Galway)

5. Kevin McDonnell (Castleconnor, Sligo)
6. Sean Mulkerrin (Oilean Arann, Galway)
7. Aiden Claffey (Moycullen, Galway)

8. Cein Darcy (Caherlistrane, Galway)
9. Matthew Ruane (Breaffy, Mayo)

12. Finian Ó Laoi (An Spidéal, Galway)
11. Nathan Mullen (Mullinabreena, Sligo)
10. John Maher (Salthill-Knocknacarra, Galway)

14. Robert Finnerty (Salthill-Knocknacarra, Galway)
15. Dessie Conneely (Moycullen, Galway)

Subs

32. Kieran Molloy (Corofin, Galway) for Carr (half-time)
26. Padraig Costello (Dunmore McHales, Galway) for Maher (36)
34. Gavin Burke (Corofin, Galway) for Claffey (40)
27. Iarla O’Sullivan (Longford) for O’Donnell (46)
21. Conor Bohan (Moycullen, Galway) for Brennan (57).

Referee: John Gilmartin (Sligo).

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About the author:

Declan Rooney

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