UCC clinched the Munster Senior League Premier Division crown after a three-way title-deciding night of action. The drama was largely done by the 19th minute, when the students struck two goals past their Ringmahon hosts in 60 seconds, from ball-playing centre-back Rob Slevin and an excellent Matthew McKevitt finish. When Simon Falvey’s trickery earned a 40th-minute penalty, Garan Manley’s cool finish was the icing on the cake.
The decisive nature of the performance was as impressive as their run to the finish line, going unbeaten for their final nine League games, winning seven. Manager Noel Healy was not only celebrating UCC’s third title in six years, but a second League and Collingwood Cup double in three years.
“It’s been a very long season but a rewarding season,” he said.
“We spoke in the dressing room beforehand about how we’ve had about 100 training sessions and 50 games, between Intermediate Cups, College and Universities League, Collingwood, Munster Senior League, and various different cups.
“I have to take my hat off to the lads, to win a Collingwood and then win the League when they’ve exams and different pressures going on, it’s a spectacular season for them. It really is.
“To win a double is fabulous and we still have three other trophies to compete in towards the end of the season.”
Starting the night one point clear of Cobh Wanderers and three ahead of Rockmount, who played each other at the same time in Whitechurch (with Rockmount winning 3-2), UCC knew they had it in their hands.
They targeted an early goal and should’ve had one after 20 seconds, with McKevitt at full stretch unable to turn the ball inside the post. But with Gordon Walker running the show in midfield, the goals soon followed.
The second half was a formality, with Owen Collins’ audacious rabona shot, which was tipped over, and Liam Cronin hitting the crossbar the closest to a fourth goal.
Healy said: “We’ve loads of different characters coming out this year and guys that you’ll recognise, hopefully, in a couple of years time going on to bigger and better things.”
UCC: D Coffey; D Mannix (J Sheehan, 48), E Hurley, R Slevin, D Scott; S Falvey (L Cronin, 80), G Walker (O Collins, 74), B Mulcahy, M McKevitt (C Fitzgerald, 88); G Manley; D Pender (I Nzewi, 83).
Subs not used: S Grace, C O’Hanlon.
RINGMAHON: J Kirby; A Ahern (N O’Donnell, 77), S Blake, R Long, J Forde (A Kidney, 69); J Dunphy (D O’Sullivan, 60), R Kenny, A McAlavey, P Deasy, P O’Brien (T Kelly, 77); J Cairns (I Aherne, 74).
Sub not used: C O’Connor.
Referee: S O’Flynn.