Storming start benefits UCC

UCC 1-14 UUJ 0-9

Such was the strength of the wind that UCC were able to amass an unassailable lead in the opening quarter before the elements eased somewhat thereafter.

Somewhat, but by no means completely. The gusts that billowed down the length of the pitch were accompanied by driving rain at one point in the second half but, by then, UCC were all but home and dry.

UUJ required 27 minutes to break their duck while UCC followed their lead by dotting over just a single point after the change of ends.

It hardly made for much of a spectacle, though there was no shortage of graft and it wasn’t difficult to empathise with those punters who chose to watch the game unfold rather than join those who had retreated to the clubhouse bar.

Billy Morgan’s UCC led within seconds thanks to a point from Tipperary’s Peter Acheson and they were five rat-a-tat points to the good before the Ulster college could even navigate their way beyond the halfway line.

Kerry’s Conor Cox kicked three on the spin from frees awarded against a UUJ defence that was operating in full survival mode and at that point it seemed as if the sky was the limit for the Munster side.

Goalkeeper Mark McReynolds was lumped with the most onerous of all tasks on the day with some of the Tyrone man’s kick-outs dipping and bending and struggling to stretch much further than the limits of his own penalty area.

However, UCC played the conditions to a tee. Their pressure on UUJ’s defence from kick-outs paid rich dividends in the opening quarter before the side they bettered in the final two years ago came to grips with the demands of the day.

By then UUJ were already 1-6 to no score in arrears with Kerry senior Peter Crowley claiming the goal after 13 minutes via a determined run through the heart of the UUJ defence after collecting yet another tortured clearance by McReynolds.

Under the circumstances, it was a half of remarkable continuity and UUJ will regret their inability to ‘stall the ball’ that bit more as it was 17 minutes before a player went down and a respite was afforded from the carnage.

Yet UCC never let up. A lead of double digits appeared to be the minimum requirement at the interval and they engineered that with some degree of comfort thanks in no small part to their sublime long-range kicking.

Only twice in that half did they fail in attempts on goal — but UUJ were less exact. By the change of ends they had just two scores to clutch for comfort, both from Tyrone’s Conor McAliskey, against 1-13 for their opponents and three wides.

They were awry with over half-a-dozen more in the second period and the three-quarter point was reached with a full eight points still between the two. Even then, it was a game that looked beyond them.

Scorers for UCC: C Cox 0-6 (6f); P Crowley 1-0; G O’Grady 0-3 (3f); B Coughlin; P Geaney 0-2 each; P Acheson 0-1.

Scorers for UUJ: P Devlin 0-5 (3f); C McAliskey 0-2 (1f); R Donnelly (1f); E McGuckan 0-1 each.

UCC: S Mellet (Cork); J O’Sullivan (Cork), E O’Mahony (Cork), P Galvin (Kerry); P Crowley (Kerry); N Daly (Roscommon), T Clancy (Cork); D O’Sullivan (Kerry), P Acheson (Tipperary); K O’Driscoll (Cork), B Coughlan (Cork), JB Spillane (Kerry); G O’Grady (Kerry), C Cox (Kerry), P Geaney (Kerry).

Subs: C Sweeney (Tipperary) for Coughlan (49); E Buckley (Cork) for O’Grady (49); P Murphy (Kerry) for Geaney (52).

UUJ: M McReynolds (Tyrone); K McKeigue (Derry), D McNally (Tyrone), D Quinn (Tyrone); D Lavey (Armagh), G McCartan (Down), S Dooney (Monaghan); R Donnelly (Tyrone); C McKaigue (Derry); M Donnelly (Tyrone), E McGuckan (Derry), P Devlin (Down); C McAliskey (Tyrone), A Devlin (Derry), B Reilly (Down).

Subs: E Deeney (Tyrone) for Dooney (51); R Corrigan (Fermanagh) for Reilly (69).

Referee: G McCormack (Dublin).

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