The students will contest a first AIB Munster club football final since 1999 on that date, when they face Kerry kingpins Dr Crokes in the provincial showpiece.
The Sigerson Cup holders and Cork county champions must go into battle against the Kingdom’s finest without some absent friends, however, as Daithi Casey and Johnny Buckley will line out for Dr Crokes.
Casey and Buckley were on duty in Killarney yesterday as Crokes eventually prevailed against Kilmurry-Ibrickane but they were hardly missed as Will Kennedy and Jamie O’Sullivan forged a solid midfield pairing for UCC.
Moyle Rovers, runners-up in the Tipperary SFC, were simply overrun as UCC went goal-crazy shortly after half-time, netting three times in the opening four minutes of the second half.
That scoring blitz killed the Rovers challenge stone dead and a second painful defeat in the space of a fortnight was a formality thereafter.
A sparse crowd, no more than a couple of hundred, descended on the Clonmel Sportsfield, with conditions very decent for the time of year.
Tipperary champions Thomas McDonaghs were ineligible to compete in the Munster club campaign because of their divisional status.
UCC had a powerful scoring contribution from a full-forward line comprised entirely of Kerrymen. Paul Geaney, who scored 1-2 for Dingle against Austin Stacks in the Kerry SFL Division 1 final on Saturday, roused himself for a second match within 24 hours. And the corner forward was brilliant during the 44 minutes he was on the pitch, scoring 2-5 and setting up Stephen O’Brien for the second of his two goals in the 35th minute.
At full-forward, Gavin O’Grady was another to impress as he finished with 0-5 to his credit, including three points from play in the second half.
Forty-two minutes elapsed before a player outside of the red-hot UCCinside line raised a flag, when Mike Griffin pointed, and Tipperary’s Gavin Ryan was the only non-Kerry native to register a score when he fisted home a 59th minute goal.
The scenario that unfolded was in marked contrast to UCC’s quarter-final victory over Limerick outfit Monaleen, when extra-time wasrequired.
That win seems to have steeled UCC as they were ruthlessly efficient in their work yesterday and in the mood right from the start.
A fortuitous goal from midfielder Peter Acheson, one of the few bright spots on a forgettable afternoon for the Monroe outfit, had Rovers level at 1-1 to 0-4 before UCC regained complete control and led by 1-7 to 1-2 at the break, with Stephen O’Brien netting the first of his brace in the first minute of stoppage time.
Within a minute of the restart, they struck again as Geaney took advantage of Darragh Dwyer’s error before hammering a rising drive into the topcorner. Two goals in a minute then put paid to the Rovers challenge as Geaney finished a flowing move after the ball had passed through the hands of O’Brien and O’Grady in the 34th minute. With UCC’s next attack, they struck again as Geaney placed O’Brien for a close-range finish.
The Rovers misery was complete in the 59th minute when Rockwell Rovers club man Gavin Ryan fisted home a monstrous free boomed into the Rovers goalmouth by UCCmidfielder Jamie O’Sullivan.
Scorers for Moyle Rovers: P Acheson 1-0, L Boland 0-2 (1f), A Campbell, S Carey andB Mulvihill 0-1 each.
UCC: P Geaney 2-5 (0-2f), S O’Brien 2-1,G O’Grady (0-5, 2f), G Ryan 1-0, M Griffin 0-1.
MOYLE ROVERS: I Browne; D Conway,R Power, D Dwyer; A Campbell, D Nolan,S Keating; M Dunne, N Fitzgerald; J Shanahan, P Acheson, D Lyne; S Carey, P Quirke, B Mulvihill.
Subs: R Desmond for Keating (39), L Boland for Mulvihill (39), A Kelly for Shanahan (49), J Lonergan for Dunne (49), L Cronin for Conway (49).
UCC: S Mellett; M Hickey, P Crowley, M Galvin;T Clancy, N Daly, S Kiely; W Kennedy, J O’Sullivan; B Coughlan, M Griffin, JB Spillane;S O’Brien, G O’Grady, P Geaney.
Subs: G Ryan for Geaney (44), S Beston for JB Spillane (49), D Culhane for Crowley (49), A Greaney for Daly (50), D O’Shea for Kennedy (50).
Referee: P O’Sullivan (Kerry).