NUI Galway 2-12 DIT 0-15
By JOHN FALLON at St Loman’s GAA club in Mullingar
NUI Galway manager Maurice Sheridan is hopeful that his side can now go all the way and claim their 23rd Sigerson Cup crown after qualifying for the final after a tough contest at the St Loman’s club in Mullingar.
The Galway college haven’t been in the final since they last won it in 2003.
They held off a spirited rally from a DIT side who were boosted by the availability of Dublin star Brian Howard for his first Sigerson Cup action of the campaign.
But while he is now free to concentrate on his league commitments with Dublin, spare a thought for Corofin defender Kieran Molloy who will miss Saturday’s Sigerson final.
Molloy came on as a sub in the second-half last night but won’t be available to NUIG on Saturday as he will be in action for Corofin in the All-Ireland club semi-final against Moorefield.
Molloy was one of several subs to impress for NUIG with Ronan O’Toole kicking two points after coming on, while their ability to find the net in either half was crucial in a game they never trailed in.
“The goals came at vital times,” said Sheridan, the former Mayo footballer who won a Sigerson Cup medal with NUIG back in 1992. “Our subs made a huge impact and that’s what makes the difference.
“I thought we opened well at the start. We got a good point early on and we never looked back from that. The opposition were a big team, they were very big.
“We’re a big team ourselves but they were equally as big.
We are just happy to be in the final. It’s hard to asses at this stage. We have a turnaround now of a few days up to the final, but we are just happy to be there. There are parts of our performance I wouldn’t be happy with, but it’s knockout football,” he added.
NUIG led by 1-6 to 0-7 at the interval with Galway’s Sean Kelly crashing home a superb goal two minutes from the break.
They started well with Owen Gallagher and Adam Gallagher getting them off the mark with good points in the opening nine minutes.
DIT were boosted by the inclusion of Howard for his first Sigerson Cup action of the season and he provided a big influence around the middle of the field.
Howard got them off the mark after ten minutes when he went forward to shoot a good score before Enda Tierney and Shane Dempsey exchanged points, and then Adam Gallagher and Sean Hurley did likewise.
Galway midfielder Peter Cooke landed a good point but Wickow’s Ross O’Brien soloed forward to cancel it.
Conor Loftus tied the match six minutes from the break but then after Adam Gallagher pointed for NUIG, Kelly struck for a fine goal.
However, DIT hauled cut the gap before the break with frees from either side from Loftus and Hurley.
DIT produced a good third quarter which saw them draw level at 1-9 to 0-12 but then Eoin Finnerty struck a huge blow for NUIG when he blasted home their second goal twelve minutes from time.
Corofin’s Kieran Molloy, who will miss Saturday’s final as he will be in action for his club in the All-Ireland semi-final, put NUIG four ahead but DIT got it back to two with points from Sean Hurley and Kilian O’Gara.
Points from Enda Tierney and Adam Gallagher seemed to make the game safe for NUIG but a late Conor Madden point for DIT ensured a nervous finish but the Galway college held out for a deserved success.
Scorers for NUI Galway: A Gallagher 0-4 (0-2f), S Kelly 1-0, E Finnerty 1-0, R O’Toole (0-2), E Tierney 0-2 (0-1 ’45), P Cooke 0-1, O Gallagher 0-1, D Comer 0-1, K Molloy 0-1.
Scorers for DIT: S Hurley 0-4 (0-4f), C Loftus 0-3 (0-1f), K O’Gara 0-2, B Howard 0-1, S Dempsey 0-1, R O’Brien 0-1, C O’Reilly 0-1, T Corcoran 0-1, C Madden 0-1.
NUI Galway: T O’Malley (Galway); S Brennan (Mayo), S Mulkerrin (Galway), K McDonnell (Sligo); C Kelly (Donegal), R Greene (Galway), G O’Kelly Lynch (Sligo); C D’Arcy (Galway), P Cooke (Galway); E Tierney (Galway), O Gallagher (Antrim), A Gallagher (Mayo); B Donovan (Limerick), D Comer (Galway), S Kelly (Galway).
Subs for NUIG: R O’Toole (Westmeath) for S Kelly (32), K Molloy (Galway) for Donovan (42), E Finnerty (Galway) for O Gallagher (43), R Forde (Galway) for C Kelly (48), J Maher (Galway) for Greene (59).
Dublin Institute of Technology: L Stacey (Dublin);A McGowan (Dublin), B Power (Meath), R Shanahan (Kerry); B Howard (Dublin), R O’Brien (Wicklow), B Maher (Tipperary); T Corcoran (Roscommon), S Hurley (Kildare); C Pearson (Dublin), C Loftus (Mayo), C Howley (Dublin); C O’Reilly (Cavan), D Kirby (Mayo), S Dempsey (Westmeath).
Subs for DIT: L Hughes (Longford) for Dempsey (BC 22), K O’Gara (Dublin) for Corcoran (42), L Hughes (Longford) for Kirby (42), B Brennan (Meath) for O’Reilly (57), D McAllister (Monaghan) for Dempsey (57), C Madden (Cavan) for Loftus (59).
Referee: A Nolan (Wicklow).