Classy UCD end UCC’s dreams

UCD 3-11 UCC 1-9

A chastening week for UCC at the Mardyke as the university’s footballers were sent packing in the Sigerson Cup 48 hours after the hurlers had exited the Fitzgibbon Cup.

Yesterday’s quarter-final defeat, far less comprehensive than the eight-point margin suggests, means the skull and crossbones are absent from the finals weekend in Jordanstown for the first time since 2009 — a mark of UCC’s dominance under Billy Morgan.

His charges emptied the tank in this entertaining encounter, but were outran and, ultimately, outclassed by a star-studded UCD team for whom Conor McCarthy, David Byrne, and Paul Mannion exerted considerable influence. The visitors, despite having led from the sixth minute, did not succeed in breaking the resistance of the home outfit until Conor McCarthy goaled very much against the run of play on 42 minutes.

Trailing 1-8 to 1-3 at the break, UCC signalled their second-half intent when Conor Cox, after a decent fetch and burst by Ian Maguire, pointed within seven seconds of the restart. A foul on David Harrington allowed Cox kick his second point less than a minute later and when the excellent Luke Connolly let rip from the ’45 on 34 minutes, the gap was back to two.

Jack McCaffrey, who was hugely effective in linking defence with attack in the opening half, kicked UCD’s first minor of the second period on 38 minutes, but John Divilly’s side were now playing second fiddle as Cox, Connolly, Brian O’Driscoll, and Ian Maguire began cutting through the middle at every opportunity.

A Cox free on 40 minutes was followed by an absolute peach of an effort from the outside of the right boot of the same player after Kevin Crowley hassled James McEntee out of possession. 1-9 to 1-8 now read the scoreboard.

And then arrived the defining moment. From the ensuing kick-out, UCD gathered possession and a defence-splitting through ball was picked up by Conor McCarthy. He offloaded to the unmarked Eoin Lowry who rounded Michael Aodh Martin and slotted goal number two for the Belfield side.

John Heslin notched a third point thereafter to push UCD’s five cushion (2-10 to 1-8).

Cox kicked his sixth point of the afternoon on 47 minutes. UCC, though, would fail to add to their tally in the closing quarter of an hour.

McCarthy sealed UCD’s ticket to Jordanstown next weekend with a 53rd-minute goal after Martin had stopped Paul Mannion’s initial drive.

Martin, and to a lesser extent Gary O’Sullivan, had been at fault for UCD’s opening goal inside six minutes as an Eoin Lowry 45 was taken down by O’Sullivan before rolling under the keeper’s legs. Luke Connolly dispatched a 13th minute penalty in reply, but UCD rose through the gears as the half wore on — Mannion, Niall Kelly, Darragh Murphy, and Heslin kicking a string of fine points to forge a lead they would not relinquish.

Scorers for UCD:

C McCarthy (1-1); J Heslin (0-3, 0-1 free); MA Martin (OG), E Lowry (1-0 each); P Mannion (0-1 free), N Kelly (0-2 each); J McCaffrey, D Murphy, J McEntee (0-1 each).

Scorers for UCC:

C Cox (0-6, 0-4 frees); L Connolly (1-1, 1-0 pen); K Davis, D Harrington (0-1 each).

UCD:

E Keogh (Mountmellick, Laois); M Fitzsimons (Cuala, Dublin), S O’Dea (Kilteely, Limerick), R Wylie (Ballybay, Monaghan); D Hyland (Athy, Kildare), D Byrne (St Olaf’s, Dublin), J McCaffrey (Clontarf, Dublin); B O’Sullivan (Dingle, Kerry), D Murphy (Valley Rovers, Cork); C McCarthy (Scotstown, Monaghan), J Heslin (St Loman’s, (Westmeath), J McEntee (Curraha, Meath); E Lowry (Killeshin, Laois), P Mannion (Kilmacud Crokes, Dublin), N Kelly (Athy, Kildare).

Subs:

J Barry (Na Gaeil, Kerry) for O’Sullivan (HT, inj); C Mullally (Cuala, Dublin) for Murphy (33 mins, inj); T Hayes (Cootehill, Cavan) for Lowry (50); T Moolick (Leixlip, Kildare) for McCarthy (56); P Kingston (Arles Kileen, Laois) for Mannion (60).

UCC:

MA Martin (Nemo); J Davis (Douglas), J McGuire (Listowel Emmets), K Fulignati (Nemo); K Crowley (Millstreet), B O’Driscoll (Tadhg MacCarthaigh), J Walsh (Knocknagoshel); G O’Sullivan (Listry), I Maguire (St Finbarr’s); K Davis (O’Donovan Rossa), L Connolly (Nemo), S Kiely (Ballincollig); J Kiely (Dr Crokes), C Cox (Listowel Emmets), D Harrington (Adrigole).

Subs:

C Hyde (Naomh Abán) for O’Sullivan (HT); C Horgan (Nemo) for Kiely (46 mins), S Cronin (Nemo) for Hyde (48), S White (Clonakilty) for Crowley (50), J Horgan (Nemo) for Crowley (52).

Referee:

B Kelly (Clare).


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