Goals either side of half-time from Paul Geaney were also decisive as Billy Morgan’s side made it into the championship weekend in Galway. But the former Cork boss was relieved to get past John Kent’s side.
“We are still in it. Sigerson Cup football is very tough and we know whoever we get in the semi-final it will be another tough battle for us,” he said.
“When we got the goal in the second-half you might have thought that was it. But they came back strong against us and it was a battle right to the end.”
IT Sligo will rue 11 wides, especially those missed in the first-half when they were well in the ascendancy with the wind at their backs.
Eugene Mullen, Eugene Keating and Danny Cummins all landed impressive scores to get IT Sligo off to a flyer. But, after dominating the opening half, they were hit with a sucker punch six minutes from the break as Geaney was sharpest and goaled when Niall Daly’s effort came back of the post.
Sligo got their act together quickly though as Keating pointed straight from the kick-out, and further points from Giveny and a Paul Garvey brace gave them 0-7 to 1-2 half-time lead.
UCC struggled to deal with IT Sligo’s defensive style, but two minutes after the restart the Cork students carried possession the length of the field and Geaney punched to the net when Stephen O’Brien’s initial shot was blocked. Once again IT Sligo needed to dig deep and Kenneth Sweeney hit a terrific point to pull them level six minutes later and Mullen edged them ahead with his second score of the game.
But, with the chance to defend their Sigerson Cup crown in Galway slipping away, O’Brien, Mark Collins, Barry O’Driscoll and Geaney all stepped up for Morgan’s men with well-constructed scores to secure victory with a strong finish.
Scorers for UCC: P Geaney 2-1; B O’Driscoll and M Collins (0-1f) 0-2 each; P Crowley, S O’Brien 0-1 each.
IT Sligo scorers: K Sweeney (0-3, 1f); E Keating, E Mullen, P Garvey (0-1f) 0-2 each; D Giveny, D Cummins 0-1 each.
UCC: D Farry (Cork); S Enright (Kerry), E O’Mahony (Cork), J O’Sullivan (Cork); P Crowley (Kerry), N Daly (Roscommon), B Daly (Cork); K O’Driscoll (Cork), B Moran (Kerry); M Greene (Kerry), M Collins (Cork), JB Spillane (Kerry); B O’Driscoll (Cork), S O’Brien (Kerry), P Geaney (Kerry).
Subs: D Nation (Cork) for Moran, ht; S Beston (Cork) for Greene, 51;
IT SLIGO: A Faherty (Galway); R Donovan (Sligo), K Keane (Galway), J Kelly (Sligo); D Drake (Mayo), D Geraghty (Mayo), G Gaughan (Sligo); D Givney (Cavan), E Mullen (Sligo); P Garvey (Roscommon), E Keating (Cavan), P Seoige (Galway); D Cummins (Galway), K Sweeney (Sligo), M McHugh (Donegal).
Subs: D Maye (Sligo) for Drake, 34; M Dunne (Cavan) for Cummins, 58; M Brady (Longford) for Garvey, 58.
Referee: Sean Carroll (Westmeath).