Students sent to finishing school as title hopes fade

Cork Church of Ireland gave UCC a lesson in clinical finishing as their 3-1 win at the Mardyke all but extinguished the students’ flickering title hopes.

College were left to rue a malfunctioning short-corner unit as they eked out more chances than the visitors, who were 2-0 to the good at half time after Nigel Buttimer profited from David Hobbs’ good baseline work before Gary Wilkinson’s backhand snapshot found the net.

UCC finally got some reward for their endeavours when Fionn O’Leary touched in Andrew Scannell’s crash, but a Stephen Sweetnam drag-flick — which looked to be heading wide before it went in off Adam O’Callaghan — sealed the points for C of I.

The Garryduff men are still six points behind Cork Harlequins — albeit with two games in hand — after the holders beat Bandon 3-0. All their goals came from the Hobbs household, with Rob netting two and Dan the other.

Elsewhere, Ashton ran into a Catholic Institute juggernaut in the Munster Senior Cup quarter-finals, the Cork girls thrashed 10-2.

Institute have endured a frustrating few weeks amid two postponed games and a shock defeat to UCC, and took their anger out on Alan Dobson’s side as Steph Hall netted her first goals since returning from Loreto and Eimear Cregan bagged a hat-trick.

UCC learned the lessons from their league slip-up against Bandon as they dispatched John Dennis’s side 2-0 at the Mardyke. Emily O’Leary kept up her recent prolific form with the first before Irish international Miriam Crowley doubled their advantage.

Cork Harlequins were far from their best but still had enough in the tank to see off Limerick 2-0 at Villiers. Orlagh Cotter’s strike and a trademark Cliodhna Sargent short-corner blast did the necessary for Stephen Dale’s charges.

The draw for March’s semi-finals will take place after the outstanding quarter-final tie, between Cork C of I and UL, is played on January 20.

Meanwhile, UCC’s men and Cork Harlequins’ women ended the first half of the season at the top of the Division 2 tables.

Katie O’Meara’s goal in Quins’ 1-1 draw with Bandon keeps them ahead of C of I on goal difference. Phil Brennan’s deflection helped UCC maintain their unbeaten start to the season against C of I in a 1-1 stalemate, though the students will be overhauled by either C of I or Catholic Institute after those sides meet on January 6.


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