Extra power gives students the edge

UCC claimed the notable scalp of Carbery in their opening assignment of the Cork SFC with an excellent success in Cloughduv last night.

In an absorbing encounter that required extra time to deliver a result, UCC proved the dominant force in the closing stages as they booked their spot in the third round with an impressive display.

They outscored Carbery by 0-5 to 0-2 in extra time as their constant energy and shrewd use of possession transpired to be the critical factors in enabling them to grab victory.

UCC began the game with six members of the triumphant team that started in last month’s Sigerson Cup final, with those big names to the fore here. Peter Crowley gave a highly accomplished display at midfield, while wing-back Sean Kiely grew in stature as the game progressed and made his customary impression on the scoreboard with three fine points. At midfield Johnny Buckley competed throughout with the towering presence of Carbery captain Alan O’Connor. The Dr Crokes man made a vital catch in the 62nd minute that paved the way for Paul Geaney to rescue UCC with the levelling point that sent the game into extra time.

Daithi Casey excelled at full-forward for UCC in what was an engaging individual battle with Carbery’s resilient full-back Kevin Harrington. What proved instrumental to UCC’s success were the contributions of their other forwards who stepped into the breach to post quality scores. Centre-forward Shane Beston knocked over 0-5, including a few significant scores in extra time, Eoghan Buckley grabbed 1-1 in a hard-working display while Dingle player Paul Geaney, a fresher this year, was hugely influential as he registered 0-4.

Carbery entered the game on the back of an impressive run of form after dumping divisional heavyweights Duhallow and Muskerry out of contention. Cork senior duo O’Connor and Denis O’Sullivan spearheaded their efforts in the first half yet they struggled to take a grip on the game. A 20th-minute goal by Buckley, who scrambled a shot to the net after a sparkling team move, helped UCC into a 1-4 to 0-3 lead.

However Carbery came back into contention by raising a green flag 60 seconds later through Rory Deane and with the O’Driscoll brothers, Colm and Kevin, impacting more, Carbery were well in the hunt as they trailed 1-6 to 1-5 at the break.

Carbery’s challenge received an injection of belief after the restart when Mark Cronin launched over a fabulous point and then Deane rocketed a shot to the net for his second goal. When Cronin split the posts with another quality score in the 39th minute, they were 2-7 to 1-8 to the good. Yet UCC clawed back that advantage with Kiely, Casey and Geaney on fire in front of goal. With six minutes remaining Kiely fired over from distance to edge them 1-13 to 2-8 in front but in the 56th minute the match swung in Carbery’s direction.

Declan Barron’s progress was impeded near goal but despite the UCC defensive challenge looking fair, a penalty was awarded. Cronin’s finish to the net was assured and although Casey replied with a great point for UCC, Barron looked to have posted the match-winning point in the 61st minute.

However, Buckley and Geaney brilliantly combined to preserve UCC’s interest.

The students duly obliged with Beston pointing the way to a 1-18 to 3-9 lead at the midway point of extra time. UCC were grateful to see a late fisted effort by Deane hit the crossbar but a late Will Kennedy point ensured their success.

Scorers for UCC: S Beston 0-5; P Geaney 0-4; E Buckley 1-1; D Casey, S Kiely 0-3 each; J Buckley 0-2 (0-1 ‘45); D O’Shea, W Kennedy 0-1 each.

Scorers for Carbery: R Deane 2-0; M Cronin 1-2 (1-0 pen); C O’Driscoll 0-4 (0-2f); D Barron 0-2; M Sugrue, D McSweeney, K O’Driscoll 0-1 each.

UCC: S Mellet (Carrigaline); M Hickey (Carrignavar), P Crowley (Laune Rangers), T Clancy (Fermoy); D O’Shea (Currow), A Greaney (St Pat’s Blennerville), S Kiely (Macroom); W Kennedy (St Michael’s), J Buckley (Dr Crokes); M Griffin (Na Gaeil), S Beston (Mitchelstown), JB Spillane (Castlegregory); E Buckley (St Michael’s), D Casey (Dr Crokes), P Geaney (Dingle).

Subs: J O’Sullivan (Kilcummin) for Buckley (45), B Coughlan (Kinsale) for Griffin (45), G Ryan (Rockwell Rovers) for Geaney (76).

CARBERY: M Cronin (St Colum’s); P Murphy (Bandon), K Harrington (Bantry Blues), E Kelleher (St Mary’s); M Delaney (Bantry Blues), D O’Sullivan (Ballinascarthy), J Wall (Kilbrittain); A O’Connor (St Colum’s), K O’Driscoll (Tadhg MacCarthaigh); R Deane (Bantry Blues), C O’Driscoll (Tadhg MacCarthaigh), M Sugrue (Bandon); D Barron (Bantry Blues), M Cronin (Gabriel Rangers), D McSweeney (St Colum’s). Subs: J Collins (Kilmacabea) for McSweeney (half-time).

Referee: Pat O’Leary (Kilmurry).

* CORK hurling defender Ray Ryan faces a minimum of eight weeks on the sidelines after breaking his thumb and index finger in a club league match last Saturday.

Ryan suffered the injury while lining out for Sarsfields against Blackrock, and will now be unavailable for Cork’s Munster championship opener against Tipperary on May 29.

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