Sigerson Cup: Holders edge into decider
17 February 2017
UL's Darren Brosnan and Eamon Wallace of UCD.
Holders UCD are through to the Sigerson Cup final after seeing off the stern challenge of UL at the Connacht Centre of Excellence.
John Divilly's champions will defend their title against St Mary's, who stunned UCC in the first of today's two semi-finals in Bekan, in the decider which takes place at the same venue tomorrow afternoon (3pm).
A 35th minute penalty from Dublin star Paul Mannion proved crucial to the outcome of the game which was a closely fought contest as UCD qualified for back-to-back finals in this competiton for the first time since 2000/01.
Trailing by two with just seconds remaining, Brian Carson's UL had a glorious opportunity to snatch victory through Gearoid Hegarty but the Limerick senior hurler's goal chance went narrowly wide of the post.
UL's Gearoid Hegarty's chance at the death! Video by Jerome Quinn Media for Higher Education GAA.
Little separated the sides in a 'tit-for-tat' first-half with Niall McDermott's 28th minute point handing the Limerick students a 0-7 to 0-6 advantage at the interval.
UCD started brightly and raced into a 0-2 to 0-0 after two minutes thanks to scores from Barry O’Sullivan and Eamon Wallace but UL, with a strong wind at their backs, were soon back on level terms after pointed frees from Cavan's McDermott and Barry O’Keeffe.
The Belfield outfit quickly regained their lead when former Footballer of the Year Jack McCaffrey came forward for a point and were head by 0-6 to 0-5 after 25 minutes with Mannion (2) and Conor McCarthy getting on the scoresheet beforehand.
Denis Daly ('45), Paul White and Fergal Boland, whose point saw them level for the fourth time in the opening half, all added to UL's tally before McDermott's third of the day pushed his side infront at the break.
A Barry McGinn free had UCD level after the resumption and a minute later came the defining moment when referee John Gilmartin awarded Divilly's side a penalty for a foul on Liam Casey.
UCD's Barry McGinn and John Mullins of UL.
UL responded brilliantly to the spot kick which was duly dispatched by Mannion past goalkeeper Colm O’Driscoll with three unanswered points from McDermott (free) and Kerry duo Daly and Michael Geaney - 0-10 to 1-7.
McGinn's second effort put UCD ahead on 45 minutes and his Monaghan teammate McCarthy followed this up but the margin was reduced to one again when Corofin's Ian Burke on as a substitute registered a free for Carson's charges.
McCarthy sent over a free to ease UCD nerves until UL midfielder Hegarty found his way through the defence for an off-target shot at Colm Honan's goal but the 2016 winners hung on.
UCD - C Honan; E Murchan, M Fitzsimons, J Rossiter; S Coen, J McCaffrey (0-1), S O’Dea; B O’Sullivan (0-1), L Casey; S Mullooly, C McCarthy (0-3, 1f), E Wallace (0-1); L Moran, P Mannion (1-2, 1-0pen), B McGinn (0-2, 1f). Subs: C Mullally for S Mullooly, J Barry for E Wallace, R McDaid for C Mullally, E Lowry for L Moran, A McDonnell for M Fitzsimons (BC).
UL - C O’Driscoll; C Long, J Mullins, D Brosnan; P White (0-1), L Boland, P Lillis; G Hegarty, C Sheehan; F Boland (0-1), M Geaney (0-1), B O’Keeffe (0-1f); S Ryan, D Daly (0-2, 1'45), N McDermott (0-4, 3f). Subs: C O'Dea for S Ryan, I Burke (0-1f) for B O’Keeffe, J Goulding for D Daly, J Naughton for M Geaney, C McNamee for F Boland.
Referee - J Gilmartin.