UCD 0-15 Athlone IT 0-7
Last year’s semi-finalists UCD were much too strong for Athlone IT in the Sigerson Cup first round at Belfield yesterday.
The home side did most of the damage in the first half and went in 0-8 to 0-1 up at the break and although Athlone battled gamely in the second period, the result never looked in doubt.
Athlone were left to reflect on three wasted goal opportunities but found John Heslin and Jack McCaffrey too much to handle as the duo kicked 10 points of their side’s total.
Westmeath’s Heslin kicked eight points in total while Dublin star McCaffrey, who started at centre-forward, contributed two points and his typically direct runs caused Athlone all sorts of problems.
UCD were five points up before another Westmeath man, Ger Egan, got Athlone’s first score on 16 minutes but the home side took a seven-point advantage to the break and stretched the lead to eight just after the restart with McCaffrey’s second point.
McCaffrey looked like he enjoyed the defensive shackles being off . It was all but over on 39 minutes when UCD moved 0-11 to 0-2 ahead thanks to quick points from wing-back Paraic Harnan and Heslin.
Egan operated at midfield in the second-half and as well as increasing the supply of ball to his inside forwards, he also scored four points for his side.
Two long-range efforts from Kieran Martin and Michael Day reduced the deficit to seven with five minutes left and a little more composure and a bit more luck when Day’s shot cannoned back off the crossbar in the first-half might have made it more uncomfortable for UCD.
Afterwards Athlone manager Tom Coffey expressed his annoyance some of his county stars had to play three games in the space of six days but paid tribute to the power and pace of UCD. The winners are chasing a first title since 1996.
J Heslin (0-8, 0-5 frees), J McCaffrey (0-2), R Basquel, S O’Dea, R Carr. P Harnan, B Fenton (0-1 each).
G Egan (0-4, 0-3 frees), D Queeney, M Day, K Martin (0-1) each.
E Keogh (Laois); R Wylie (Monaghan), D Byrne, M O’Cathalain; P Harnan (Meath), C Mullaly, S O’Dea (Limerick); M O’Hanlon (Wexford), J Barry (Kerry); B Fenton (Kildare), J McCaffrey, E Nolan (Wexford); R Basquel, J Heslin (Westmeath), N Kelly (Kildare).
R Carr (Louth) for Barry (20), C Lenehan (Meath) for Nolan (45), P Reilly (Louth) for Fenton (54), C Sheridan (Meath) for Kelly (54), E Lowery (Laois) for Basquel (57).
M Langtry (Offaly); E Kerins (Galway), S Flynn (Roscommon), D Farley (Longford); J Donoghue, K Martin, J Dolan; M Day (Galway), C O’Brien (Galway); D Whelan, G Egan, K Kilcline (Roscommon); C Fitzgerald (Kerry), D Queeney (Meath), A Coffey.
A Sullivan (Offaly) for O’Brien (ht), D Wharton (Cavan) for Whelan (45), J Wharton (Cavan) for Fitzgerald (59)
J Hickey (Carlow).