UCC are through to play St Mary’s University College, Belfast in the Sigerson Cup final in Parnell Park next Wednesday.
The 21 times winners were well tested by NUIG, but ultimately, goals were key in Mallow today. They got two of these while playing into the strong wind in the first-half – both from the boot of Kerry’s Sean O’Shea. And while the westerners regained the lead momentarily at the start of the second-half and were within a point with 10 minutes remaining, the Cork students outscored them four points to two on the home straight.
UCC had a dream start with a goal from sharpshooter O’Shea in the third minute. The county star followed with a second goal right on the quarter hour mark. These strikes provided the platform for their narrow 2-3 to 0-8 interval lead. However, NUIG could have been in the ascendancy had they taken more of their chances. Jack Robinson and Michael Daly shared four points between them and they finished the half with excellent points from Owen Gallagher and Peter Cooke.
NUIG restarted brilliantly with John Maher finding the net inside two minutes. But the celebrations were short lived when Eimhin Courtney replied a minute later. The Cork side went on to build a five-point advantage, but with nine minutes remaining, the gap was reduced to one. Conor Geaney’s 52nd minute goal gave UCC some welcome breathing space.
UCC did have to withstand late pressure when NUIG were awarded a close-in free which was taken by Kieran Molloy to Ruairi Greene but UCC’s packed goalmouth forced his effort out wide, and they held on to win by three.
UCC will contest both the Fitzgibbon Cup and Sigerson Cup finals in the coming week.
Scorers for UCC: S O’Shea (2-3, 0-2 frees), C Geaney (1-4, 0-1 free), E Courtney (1-1), P Clifford (0-1).
Scorers for NUIG: M Daly (0-7 frees), J Maher (1-0), J Robinson (0-3), P Cooke, N Mullen, R Finnerty (free), J Daly (free) and O Gallagher (0-1 each).
UCC: M White (Clonakilty, Cork); M Flood (St Bridget’s, Meath), K Flahive (Douglas, Cork), G O’Sullivan (Dromid Pearses, Kerry); J McEntee (Curraha, Meath), B Begley (An Gaeltacht, Kerry), C Kiely (Ballincollig, Cork, Capt); P Lucey (Legion, Kerry), J Kennedy (Clonmel Commercials, Tipperary); P Clifford (Fossa, Kerry), S O’Shea (Kenmare Shamrocks, Kerry), C Horgan (Nemo Rangers, Cork); C Geaney (Dingle, Kerry), E Courtney (Éire Óg, Ennis, Clare), K Spillane (Templenoe, Kerry).
Subs: D O’Brien (Glenflesk, Kerry) for J McEntee (23 inj), R Buckley (Listry, Kerry) for C Horgan (39), C O’Hainifin (Éire Óg, Ennis, Clare) for C Kiely (55), G Murphy (Castletownbere, Cork) for K Spillane (57), R Forde (Annaghdown, Galway) for G O’Sullivan (61).
NUIG: A Brady (Elphin, Roscommon); S Brennan (Claremorris, Mayo), S Mulkerrin (Oileán Árann, Galway), K McDonnell (Castleconnor, Sligo, Capt); K Molloy (Corofin, Galway), R Greene (Kilannin, Galway), N Mullen (Mullinabreena, Sligo); P Cooke (Moycullen, Galway), C Darcy (Caherlistrane, Galway); P O’Donnell (Oileáin Arann,, Galway)., E Tierney (Oughterard, Galway), J Maher (Salthill, Galway); R Finnerty (Salthill, Galway), J Robinson (Clogherinkoe, Kildare), M Daly (Mountbellew, Galway).
Subs: O Gallagher (St Joseph’s, Antrim) for P O’Donnell (23), J Daly (Mountbellow, Galway) for R Finnerty (39), F Ó Laoi (An Spideal, Galway) for J Maher (46), G Canavan (Mayo Gaels, Mayo) for J Robinson (47 BC), E McGrath (Boyle, Roscommon) for S Brennan (56).
Referee: Derek O’Mahony (Tipperary).