Credit to UCC who were fully deserving of their 16-point win, but the nature of last night’s game raises serious question marks as to the credibility of involving third-level teams in the Cork championship.
History shows us that 1970 was the last time UCC annexed the County Cup and while CIT reached the final in 2011, it’s safe to assume it will be a good number of years again before either side contests the showpiece event.
Put simply, so long as round 4 is played off prior to September neither college team will advance beyond that juncture. Last night was proof positive. Players will not hang around for the summer for, at most, two games. It is a pity because the pair had served up a thrilling Fitzgibbbon Cup semi-final back in February, but the two teams fielded last night bore little comparison with the match program from Belfast.
In any event, the opening exchanges were evenly matched with both teams hitting four apiece inside eight minutes. Michael Collins, Tom Devine, Seamus Harnedy and Mark Sugrue found the range for UCC, with Stephen Murray (0-3, 0-2 frees) and John Corkery on target for CIT.
Then arrived the game’s two crucial passages of play. First, a Willie Griffin free 40-metres out was dispatched to the roof of Paul Connors’ goal, a second major following swiftly after. Harnedy, Adrian Breen and Anthony Spillane were crucial figures in the build-up, with Griffin firing home goal number two.
Sugrue split the posts in the subsequent action and all of a sudden CIT found themselves 2-6 to 0-5 adrift by the end of the first quarter.
Stephen Murray continued to convert from the placed ball, but with Griffin equally accurate at the other end no sufficient inroads on the UCC lead was made – 2-10 to 0-8 the interval scoreline.
The second-half quickly petered out as a contest – UCC pulling out of sight with seven unanswered minors, including a terrific score on the run and off the hurl from half-forward Robert O’Shea.
Substitute Alan Fenton registered a consolation goal for CIT three minutes from the end, immediately cancelled out, however, by Anthony Spillane who bagged UCC’s third major of the tie.
W Griffin (2-6, 1-4 frees, 0-1 ’65); A Spillane (1-1); S Harnedy (0-4, 0-1 free); T Devine (0-3); R O’Shea (0-1 free), M Sugrue (0-2 each); C McSweeney, Cormac Murphy, Cathal Murphy, M Collins, A Breen (0-1 each).
S Murray (0-8, 0-6 frees); M O’Sullivan (1-1); J Lonergan, S O’Regan, J Corkery, K Hallissey (0-1 each).
PJ Hall (Limerick); S Maher (Tipperary), D Glynn (Kilkenny), S Hegarty (Cork); M O’Brien (Waterford), T Burke (Waterford), C Murphy (Mallow); M Collins (Ballinhassig), T Devine (Waterford); M Sugrue (Bandon), S Harnedy (St Ita’s), R O’Shea (Carrigaline); A Spillane (Castlelyons), A Breen (Limerick), W Griffin (Limerick).
D McCormack (Tipperary) for Sugrue (47 mins), C Murphy (Éire Óg) for Griffin (48), J Cassin (Kilkenny) for Harnedy (51), C McSweeney for Murphy (54), D Geary (Fermoy) for O’Brien (54).
P Connors (Tipperary); P Butler (Argideen Rangers), A Dennehy (Charleville), T Lawrence (Brian Dillons); K Bennett (Waterford), K Kavanagh (Carrigaline), D Brosnan (Brian Dillons); D Corbett (Tipperary), J Cronin (Lisgould); D Drake (Carrigaline), M O’Sullivan (Tracton), S Murray (Tipperary); J Lonergan (Tipperary), J Corkery (Aghabullogue), K Hallissey (Éire Óg).
K O’Connor (Mallow) for Corbett (HT), A Fenton (Castlelyons) for Hallissey (40 mins), S O’Regan (Watergrasshill) for Murray (50), D O’Reilly (Ballyhooly) for McIntyre (50), K Tarrant (Banteer) for Drake (55).
N Wall (Carrigaline).