Sean O’Shea produced another outstanding performance in a memorable week but it was another Kerryman Killian Spillane who delivered a dramatic winner for UCC in this Sigerson Cup tie at the JK Brackens grounds in Templemore, writes.
Garda College looked set for a massive win when they edged in front in the closing stages.
But UCC staged a final rally and when Spillane — son of Kerry legend Tom — was fouled, he stepped forward to dispatch the resultant penalty into the roof of the net and book a Sigerson Cup quarter-final spot against NUIG next week.
The win was all the more dramatic as UCC played more than half the match with 14 men after corner-forward Gary Murphy picked up a second yellow card just before the break.
UCC had started well with three quick points before Garda College hit and drew level after seven minutes when Ryan drilled home a goal.
Points from Tommy McDaniel, Peter Kelleher and Darren Gallagher pushed Garda College clear before UCC rallied and two efforts from Spillane and one from Kevin Crowley levelled again.
The sides turned around deadlocked at 1-5 to 0-8 and after exchanging points, Garda College hit the front with a 46th penalty from Tommy McDaniel.
But Kerry’s O’Shea continued his great week and the Kenmare man led the way as UCC clawed their way back, creating the opportunities which saw them level six minutes from as he found the range either side of points from Spillane and Stephen Sherlock.
Garda, who also finished with 14 men when Alan Gaughan was black-carded in the dying seconds with all six subs, looked set for a quarter-final tie with NUIG when Ryan struck a superb score as the game slipped into stoppage time.
But in a final attack Spillane was fouled and then composed himself to slot home the winner with an expertly-taken penalty.
Scorers – UCC: K Spillane 1-3 (1-0pen), S O’Shea 0-5 (2f), G Murphy, J Kennedy 0-1, K Crowley 0-1, S Sherlock 0-1.
Garda College: J Ryan 1-2, T McDaniel 1-2 (1-0pen), D Gallagher 0-1, P Kelleher 0-1, D Meehan 0-1.
UCC: M Martin (Cork); F Clifford (Kerry), J Foley (Kerry), M McSweeney (Cork); K Crowley (Cork), S Cronin (Cork), C Kelly (Cork); J Kennedy (Tipperary), A Barry (Kerry); B O Beaglaoich (Kerry), S O’Shea (Kerry), K Flahive (Cork); G Murphy (Cork), C Dorgan (Cork), K Spillane (Kerry).
Subs: S Sherlock (Cork) for Dorgan 50, L O’Donovan (Cork) for Clifford 54.
Garda College: S Murphy (Limerick), R O’Connor (Galway), S Gaul (Wexford), K Histon (Cork); K Daly (Westmeath), T Featherstone (Roscommon), P Varley (Galway); C Russell (Clare), D Gallagher (Longford); E Cleary (Clare), P Kelleher (Cork), G Rodgers (Longford); J Ryan (Galway), D Meehan (Cavan), T McDaniel (Westmeath).
Subs: S Cunningham (Dublin) for Cleary 38, A Gaughan (Westmeath) for Russell 44, E Duffy ((Louth) for Kelleher 48, S Ryan (Clare) for Meehan 52, J Morris (Cavan) for Featherstone 55, G Casey (Cork) for McDaniel 60.
Referee: John Hickey (Carlow)