Super-cool Dorman the toast of UCC

UCC 0-10 UUJ 0-09

Super-cool Dorman the toast of UCC

The UCC support, numbered as it may have been, sighed heavy in disappointment, UUJ in relief. Extra-time it would be, or so we thought.

Step forward Conor Dorman, step forward UCC’s saving grace.

The UUJ rearguard had defended stoutly in closing down Cox’s attempted shot, but just when it appeared the chance had gone the Listowel Emmetts man showed superb vision to spot the unmarked Dorman at the far end of the 21-yard line and sprayed possession to the centre-back.

Dorman took one look at the clock and seeing 29.19 elapsed, realised the outcome of the 2014 Sigerson Cup decider lay in his hands, or right boot as it would prove. The Bishopstown defender composed his stance and steered the leather between the sticks to hand the underdogs a famous victory, a deserved one it should too be noted.

Clutching his Man of the Match award, Dorman said the concluding minutes typified the heart and resilience of Billy Morgan’s outfit.

As for that point? The centre-back admitted he sought to offload possession and, indeed, responsibility, but with no red and black shirt in close attention, he was forced to make the kick.

“I can’t believe we have done it, especially when they drew back level with only a couple of minutes to go it didn’t look like we were going to get over the line. Everyone really stood up to the plate then,” he said.

“I knew I had to take the shot, there was nothing else I could really throw it off to. I had to go for it and I was just willing it over. When I took the shot I looked straight at the clock, straight at the time. I was never so happy to see that there was less than 40 seconds left. I knew we would do it. Even with ten seconds to go I was there celebrating.

“I was never so happy to see a ball go over the bar. Absolutely delighted to get the win and be part of this team. Nobody really gave us a chance going up and we have pulled it out of the bag.”

UCC had the backing of the wind in the opening half, but were predominantly reliant on the placed ball efficiency of Conor Cox to eke out an advantage. The corner-forward accounted for UCC’s entire first-half tally, Tom Clancy’s 16th minute effort aside.

UUJ, frustrated by a vicious swirling wind, kicked seven first-half wides and, indeed, the decider was 21 minutes old before Adrian McGuckin’s outfit raised a flag of any description, Tyrone’s Mattie Donnelly finishing a sweeping move involving Ronan O’Neill, Jamie Clarke and Colin Walshe.

General consensus at the interval was that UCC’s lead (0-6 to 0-2) was nowhere near sizeable enough, but as Billy Morgan alluded to afterwards, the final’s crucial spell arrived directly upon the change of ends.

Conor Cox nailed his fifth free of the evening, before Luke Connolly and Michael Quinlivan dissected the posts in quick succession to stretch the gap to 0-9 to 0-2, the latter score stemming from Sean Keane’s terrific tackle in dispossessing Jamie Clarke.

Most noticeable during this period and also in the first-half was the tireless work ethic of the UCC midfield and half-back line. Ian McGuire, David Nation Tom Clancy and Conor Dorman were superb in carrying possession from deep and it was the waning of their dominance in the final quarter that paved the way for UUJ’s reprieve. Even at that, the 10 second-half wides registered by the losers was testament to the pressure applied by the UCC rearguard.

Still, said wides tally highlighted how total control had been assumed by the favourites and there is no doubt had they converted even a fraction of those missed efforts, the Sigerson Cup would not be residing in Cork this week.

Conor McAliskey tapered the fuse on their comeback bid on 44 minutes and in the ensuing passages of play points flowed from all angles courtesy of Ronan O’Neill (0-4, 0-2 frees) and Kieran Hughes (0-1 free) — an absolute belter from distance by O’Neill levelling matters two minutes out.

Extra-time, surely.

Step forward Conor Dorman, step forward UCC’s saving grace.

Scorers for UCC: C Cox (0-6, 0-5 frees), T Clancy, L Connolly, M Quinlivan, C Dorman (0-1 each).

Scorers for UUJ: R O’Neill (0-4, 0-2 frees), K Hughes (0-2fs), R Beggan (1 45), M Donnelly, C McAliskey (0-1 each).

UCC (Cork unless stated): B Kelly (Kerry); D Culhane, E O’Mahony, F McNamara (Kerry); C Dorman, T Clancy, B Shanahan; D Nation, I McGuire; S Keane (Kerry), L Connolly, B O’Driscoll; C Cox (Kerry), M Quinlivan (Tipperary), P Geaney (Kerry).

Subs: S Kiely for Nation (36), E Healy for Keane (46).

UUJ: R Beggan (Monaghan); D McNally (Tyrone), C McKaigue (Derry), B Tierney (Tyrone); L Keaney (Donegal), C Walshe (Monaghan), K Clarke (Cavan); M Donnelly (Tyrone), N McKeever (Antrim); D Savage (Down), R O’Neill (Tyrone), K Hughes (Monaghan); C McAliskey (Tyrone), C O’Boyle (Derry), J Clarke (Armagh).

Subs: K McKaigue (Derry) for McNally (bc, 26), P Devlin (Down) for Savage (46), R Donnelly (Tyrone) for McAliskey (50).

Referee: J McQuillan (Cavan).

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