Donaghy's inspired substitution seals it for Queens

ANOTHER fruitless Sigerson weekend for UCD footballers. In each of the past four years, the Belfield campus has been favoured to shake things up. Each time, they have come unstuck.

Queens 1-10 UCD 0-9

Yesterday, it was an inspired substitution that did the damage. When Gavin Donaghy made his appearance in the 42nd minute, UCD were slowly tightening their grip on the game.

Although still trailing by a point, Joe Sheridan had revived the fortunes of the Dublin side with faultless place-kicking. When Sheridan equalised in the 44th minute, the sides were level for the first time since the throw-in.

It looked like the latest star churned out by the Royal conveyor belt was going to carry UCD to the final on his own. While his much-vaunted team-mates were doing a good line in anonymity, the rising starlet of Meath football kicked point after point.

Donaghy changed things, though. Barely on the field, the Derry forward snatched a long ball on the flank, turned two defenders and played the ball across the UCD goal-mouth. Aidan Fegan was swifter than any Dublin defender to the ball, and buried it into the net.

It was no more than Fegan deserved. Donaghy aside, he was Queens' outstanding performer, notching 1-7 with a kicking display as eye-catching as Sheridan's. But Donaghy made the greatest difference.

Players were constantly searching for the lively Derry forward, and he had a hand in the final 1-3 the host team would score, fittingly getting the final score.

Queens were playing with the wind in the first half, which suited their brand of football. Like the great Down side their manager starred in, the college played the ball fast, spreading it across both flanks. They dominated the opening half, yet because of wayward kicking (eight wides), only went in at the interval two points ahead, 0-6 to 0-4.

Fegan got the majority of these scores, but he was also responsible for a few of the missed chances, the home side kicked six wides in the first 12 minutes. With Sheridan punishing each transgression by a Queens defender, a two-point margin didn't look enough.

Despite most of the UCD team playing well below-par, they were still fancied to be rampant in the second half with the wind at their backs. However, Dan McCartan silenced Sheridan, who would only score from frees, and Marty McGrath did a magnificent spoiling job in midfield, where Stephen Lucey and Darren Magee could never get a foot-hold.

When Sheridan nailed another free in the 50th minute, it looked like UCD might sneak through. However, this score, that left them trailing by a point (1-8 to 0-9), was to be their last. Donaghy turned on the style again to have them dreaming of another Sigerson success around Queens.

Scorers: Queens: A Fegan (1-7, 5 frees, 1 s-l ball), E McCartan, G Donaghy, A Carr (0-1 each). UCD: J. Sheridan (0-7, all frees), J.P. Casey (0-2).

QUEENS: W McSorley; M Bogue, D McCartan, R O'Neill; C Rafferty, E Devine, S Kelly; D Clerkin, M McGrath; A Carr, J Clarke, K Oakes; E McCartan, BJ Padden, A Fegan.

Subs: P O'Hea for O'Neill (21 mins), G Donaghy for Clarke (42 mins), C Dunne for Oakes (51 mins).

UCD: C Mullin; B O'Harmadh, C Evans, P Griffin; J O'Donoghue, D O'Hannaidh, D Magee; S Lucey, K McMahon; J Hanly, B. Sheehan, L Ó Haneacháin; JP Casey, J Sheridan, C Murphy.

Subs: E Ó Cuív for O'Hannaidh (29 mins), R Ronaghan for Casey (49 mins).

Ref: B. White (Wexford).

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