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Clifford magic helps UL into first Sigerson Cup final since 1997

They had three points to spare over DCU in tonight’s semi-final.

UL's David Clifford celebrates after the game with Gearoid O'Donovan.
UL's David Clifford celebrates after the game with Gearoid O'Donovan.

UL 0-14

DCU 0-11

TWO LATE SCORES from David Clifford propelled UL into their first Sigerson Cup decider in 25 years as they saw off DCU in Carlow tonight. 

UL went into battle without injured duo Stefan Okunbor and Eoghan McLaughlin, but they’ll face NUIG in next week’s decider after this thrilling victory.

Clifford finished with a five-point haul, including three from play, following his 2-4 tally against Queen University Belfast in the quarter-final.

The sides were deadlocked at 0-11 apiece on 52 minutes when Clifford curled over a booming free from the sideline to nudge UL ahead. The Kerry star was involved in a move that saw Emmet McMahon hit a point and then Clifford nailed a massive score from play to seal a three point win.

It was a deserved victory for the Limerick college, but DCU were left to rue a host of wides and unforced errors in the second-half. They had plenty of attacking talent, led by Donegal’s Shane O’Donnell and Offaly’s Shane Tierney, who hit five points between them after they both arrived off the bench in the first-half.

david-clifford-poses-for-photos-with-fans-after-the-game UL's David Clifford poses for photos with fans after the game. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Galway forward Robert Finnerty clipped three first-half frees but was held scoreless from play. DCU dropped bodies behind the ball and looked to hit UL on the break, a tactic that looked to be working as Kildare defender Shea Ryan did a solid job on Clifford for long spells.

Mayo’s Paul Towey proved a reliable shooter for UL, scoring three excellent points as the led 10-7 early in the second-half.

DCU roared back into the game with four of the next five scores and when Carlow native Jordan Morrissey drove forward and added his name to the scoreboard, the teams were level. 

Then Clifford took control and guided his college to victory. 

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Scorers for UL: David Clifford 0-5 (0-1f, 0-1 45), Paul Towey 0-3, Donal O’Sullivan and Emmet McMahon 0-2 each, Connell Dempsey and Ciaran Downes 0-1 each.

Scorers for DCU: Robert Finnerty 0-3 (0-3f), Shane Tierney 0-3 (0-1m), Shane O’Donnell 0-2, Bill Carroll, Paraic Hughes and Jordan Morrissey 0-1 each.

UL

1. Conor Flaherty  (Claregalway/Carnmore – Galway)

3. Ciaran Donnelly (Bracknagh – Offaly), 2. Jack Coyne (Ballyhaunis – Mayo), 4. Paul Maher (Adare – Limerick)

5. Gearoid O’Donovan (Newcestown — Cork), 6. S Powter (Douglas – Cork), 9. Daniel Walsh (Kilmurry-Ibrickane – Clare) 

8. Connell Dempsey (Knockmore – Mayo), 12. Oisin Looney (Miltown Malbay – Clare)

10. Ciaran Downes  (Kilmhil – Clare), 14. D Gray (Castledermot – Kildare), 11. Emmet McMahon (Kildysart – Clare)

32. Paul Towey (Charlestown — Mayo), 13. David Clifford (Fossa), 15. Donal O’Sullivan.

Subs:

19. J McCarthy for Donnelly (8-13, blood sub)

21. Frank Flanagan for Looney (27)

18. Paul Walsh for McMahon (46)

19. McCarthy for Coyne (53)

11. McMahon for Gray (54)

26. Sean McDonnell for O’Sullivan (64) 

DCU

1. David O’Hanlon (Na Fianna — Dublin)

2. Dan Corcoran (Geraldines — Louth), 3. Shea Ryan (Sarsfields — Kildare), 4. Mark Curran (An Clochan Liath)

5. Luke Towey (St Molaise Gaels — Sligo), 6. Jordan Morrissey (Éire Óg — Mayo), 7. Matthew Costello (Dunshaughlin — Meath)

8. Liam Coleman (Castletown Liam Mellows — Wexford), 9. Red Óg Murphy (Curry —Sligo)

12. Padraic Hughes (Kilanerin — Wexford), 15. Shane Walsh (Na Fianna — Meath), 10. Bill Carroll (Cappincur — Offaly)

13. Joseph Hagan (Dromard — Longford), 14. Robert Finnerty (Salthil/Knocknacarra — Galway), 15. Mark Barry (O’Dempsey’s — Laois) 

Subs:

20. Shane Tierney (Daingean — Offaly) for Hagan (22)

23. Shane O’Donnell (St Eunan’s — Donegal) for Barry (23)

21. Jack Bryant (Shamrocks — Offaly) for Lynch Bissett (40)

13. Hagan for Byrne (57)

Referee: M Deegan (Laois).

About the author:

Kevin O'Brien

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