A 2-9 TALLY from corner-forward Willie Griffin was key in helping UCC win the Higher Education Hurling League Division 1 title at Mallow last night.
UCC never trailed in this contest against the previous holders UL and once Griffin scored his second, and UCC’s third goal shortly after half-time to open up a 14-point lead, they were never going to be denied.
With the brisk wind in the first-half, UCC made the most of the elements as they built up a 2-9 to 0-4 half-time lead, though it could have been even more but for a lack of composure in front of goal at times.
Griffin was their ace all through, scoring 1-5 in the opening period, UL struggling despite withdrawing Kieran Morris to play as a seventh defender in a bid to soak up the pressure.
UCC’s defence was strong, however, Daniel Kearney and Seamus Corry worked hard at midfield and Griffin punished any indiscretions by converting the bulk of his frees.
The lead was 0-7 to 0-2 after 15 minutes, Griffin with four, when Griffin broke the ball down to Seamus Harnedy, who produced a super finish to the net.
UL’s Eanna Murray almost cancelled that out but Darren McCarthy saved well and then, moments later, Griffin latched onto a Dara Fives clearance and waltzed past three defenders before hammering his shot past Thomas Lowry.
While UL responded to that with points from David Butler and a Morris free, Griffin and James Barry ensured that UCC’s half-time lead was 11 points.
The wind-assisted fight-back never materialised. Morris had the first score of the second half with a free, but Griffin then struck for his second goal after good work by Dean Brosnan and he followed that with another point for that 14-point cushion.
Morris did continue to convert any frees that came UL’s way but in general their attacking play lacked the imagination to put the UCC defence under any kind of sustained pressure, with Tipperary’s Paul Kelly well shackled by John O’Callaghan.
Three points, two by Griffin and one from a Stephen Moylan sideline left it 3-14 to 0-9 with 11 minutes left, and while the last three points were all UL’s, it made little difference.
Scorers for UCC: W Griffin 2-9 (0-7f), S Harnedy 1-1, S Moylan (0-1 sideline), J Barry (0-1f), M Grace, S Bourke 0-1 each.
Scorers for UL: M Morris 0-6 (0-4f, 0-1 65), D Butler 0-2f, P Collins, P Kelly, E Murray, B Beckett 0-1 each.
UCC: D McCarthy (Cork); S Maher (Tipperary), J O’Callaghan (Cork), K Murphy (Cork); J Barry (Tipperary), D Fives (Waterford), W Egan (Cork); D Kearney (Cork), S Corry (Cork); S Harnedy (Cork), M Grace (Kilkenny), D Brosnan (Cork); W Griffin (Limerick), S Moylan (Cork), S Bourke (Tipperary).
Subs: E O’Sullivan (Cork) for Grace, B Collins (Cork) for Kearney, B Hartnett for Egan (all 58), A Hannigan (Clare) for Corry, J Cassin (Kilkenny) for Brosnan (both 60).
UL: T Lowry (Tipperary); S Phelan (Kilkenny), K Fox (Tipperary), P Flanagan (Clare); J Breheny (Galway), B Bugler (Clare), L Markham (Clare); D Hayden (Offaly), S Golden (Clare); D Butler (Tipperary), P Collins (Clare), M Boran (Kilkenny); K Morris (Tipperary), P Kelly (Tipperary), E Murray (Tipperary).
Subs: B Beckett (Kilkenny) for Breheny (37), C Malone (Clare) for Murray (44), J Sheehan for Hayden (52).
Referee: P Casey (Waterford).
IN the Freshers Division 1 final played beforehand, Declan Hannon scored 10 points, nine from placed balls, as UL came from behind to overcome UCC 0-15 to 0-14.
UCC led 0-11 to 0-5 at half-time after playing with the wind, Jack Ahern their best player, but four unanswered points in the final 12 minutes gave UL the win.
Scorers for UL Freshers: D Hannon 0-10 (0-8f, 0-1 penalty), J Fitzgibbon, B Stapleton (0-1f), T Heffernan 0-1.
Scorers for UCC Freshers: J Ahern 0-8 (0-6f), C Lehane 0-2, J Mulcahy, C Murphy, M Howard, E Finn 0-1 each.
UL Freshers: R Morris (Clare); B Davis (Tipperary), M Hanley (Tipperary), D Quinn (Tipperary); S O’Gorman (Wexford), C Scally (Westmeath), D Morrissey (Limerick); D Wilson (Kilkenny), B Stapleton (Tipperary); N O’Meara (Tipperary), D Hannon (Limerick), A Clarke (Westmeath); M Carmody (Limerick), T Heffernan (Tipperary), J Fitzgibbon (Limerick).
Subs: C Walsh (Waterford) for O’Gorman (27), K Cullinane (Galway) for Fitzgibbon, J Carr (Galway) for O’Meara (both 44), J Grogan (Tipperary) for Wilson (51), C Hennerby (Waterford) for Carmody (59).
UCC: T Wallis (Cork); D Lester (Cork), D Cahalane (Cork), C Dooley (Cork); S Ryan (Waterford), P Prendergast (Waterford), A Costello (Limerick); J Colleran (Clare), K Bourke (Cork); C Murphy (Cork), J Mulcahy (Waterford), C Lehane (Cork); J Ahern (Limerick), M Howard (Cork), P Deasy (Cork).
Subs: E Finn (Cork) for Ryan (22), M Sugrue (Cork) for Deasy (39), M Fitzgibbon (Limerick) for Finn (55, injured).
Referee: J O’Brien (Tipperary).