Quinlivan makes it safe for UCC

UCC 1-14 Trinity College 1-07
The seven-point half-time and full-time gaps might suggest UCC had things all their own way against Trinity College in the Sigerson Cup clash at UL yesterday.

Far from it.

Leading 0-10 to 0-3 at the interval, by the three-quarter mark last year’s finalists were clinging precariously to a two-point advantage after a bright Trinity start to the second period.

Crucially, however, Billy Morgan’s side never panicked and points from Brian O’Driscoll and Michael Quinlivan eased them clear again before Quinlivan’s goal ensured their passage to the quarter-finals.

Played in extremely wet and windy conditions on the 3G pitch at UL’s North Campus, overall it was a job well done, but nothing more or less, said UCC selector John Corcoran.

“Our experience told in the end,” he said. “We got on top around the middle, Ian Maguire was very good and then obviously Michael Quinlivan’s goal gave us some breathing space again. We’re not jumping for joy at the performance, but it was a satisfactory. It has been a desperately frustrating week trying to get the game played, there was a lot of uncertainty over the venue which was totally unsatisfactory, but you can’t do anything about the conditions. You just have to get on with it.”

UCC played smartly for the most part. Maguire, aided by David Nation, helped them win midfield for the bulk, while Alan Cronin and Brian O’Driscoll, ostensibly half-forwards, did a wealth of good work in their own half. That in turn helped to create space for Luke Connolly, who kicked two good first-half points, both of which could have been goal but for Conor McConville saves. Inside, Paul Geaney and Conox Cox buzzed with energy and menace and while they lost Cox to a 29th minute black card, they did not appear to be in too much trouble as they turned with that seven-point cushion.

Trinity deserve credit for their start to the second-half. Within two minutes, wing-forward Owen Gallagher got himself into a goalscoring position and when he was fouled, Paul McPadden converted the penalty.

Gallagher, from a Luke Turley lay-off, almost managed a second goal immediately after but while Brian Kelly diverted his shot over, the momentum was firmly with the Dublin college. UCC’s wides tally began to grow and not even a Geaney free – expertly judged to allow for the violent crosswind – could puncture the flow as Trevor English and Gallagher brought Trinity to within two points.

That would be as good as it would get for them, however. Straight from the kickout, Kelly found Maguire, who set up O’Driscoll for a well-taken effort and then Quinlivan nailed a free from the 45m line, a replica of his first-half effort, driven low to avoid being set off course by the elements.

Their tails up again, UCC were now more settled and when centre-back Brian Shanahan set up wing-back Conor Dorman, it took another McConville stop to keep his shot out. Quinlivan was loitering with intent though and re-opened the seven-point advantage.

From there, there would be no denying them as they can now look forward to a quarter-final at home to Cork rivals CIT.

Scorers for UCC: M Quinlivan 1-2 (two frees), C Cox 0-4 (three frees), P Geaney 0-3 (one free), L Connolly, B O’Driscoll 0-2 each, D Culhane 0-1.

Scorers for Trinity College: P McPadden 1-0 (penalty), L Turley (two frees), O Gallagher 0-2 each, S Cunningham, C O’Donoghue, T English (free) 0-1 each.

UCC (Cork unless stated): B Kelly (Kerry); D Culhane (Kerry), E O’Mahony, F McNamara (Kerry); C Dorman, B Shanahan, E Healy; D Nation, I Maguire; L Connolly, A Cronin, B O’Driscoll; P Geaney (Kerry), M Quinlivan (Tipperary), C Cox (Kerry).

Subs: T Hickey (Kerry) for Cox (29, black card), S Keane (Kerry) for Healy (48, injured).

TRINITY COLLEGE: C McConville (Dublin); C Noonan (Meath), T Daly (Fermanagh), S Murray (Dublin); M Regan (Mayo), M O’Grady (Kildare), J McPadden (Offaly); P O’Higgins (Dublin), S Cunningham (Dublin); C O’Donoghue (Westmeath), T English (Westmeath), O Gallagher (Antrim); P McPadden (Offaly), L Turley (Down), S Higgins (Kildare).

Subs: S Flynn (Longford) for Regan (11, black card), M O’Sullivan (Meath) for O’Donoghue (38).

Referee: Pádraig O’Sullivan (Kerry).


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