First-half goals from Evan Preston Kelly and Enda Dunne in the semi-final clash with University of Ulster Jordanstown set Clery’s charges up for a final spot with UCC.
Preston Kelly had Galway in front on 18 minutes with a glancing header from Enda Dunne’s corner that caught goalkeeper Matthew Quinn flat footed. Then Dunne himself doubled their advantage just before the interval after getting past Sam McWilliams and beating keeper Quinn.
While Jordanstown had a better second-half and created several good opportunities their finishing let them down. Stephen Doyle missed a golden chance and later Evan Kelly cleared a Mark Kelly effort off the line. Linfield striker Shane Jennings managed to score in the closing minutes but it was all too late.
Holders UCD, bidding for a three-in-a- row, bowed out to UCC in a thrilling semi-final. . Cork manager John Caulfield saw his side get off to the best possible start when Rob Waters hit his third goal in as many games. Michael McSweeney went close with a header on to the crossbar from a Luke Burgess corner and Waters then found space in the box to steer the rebound past Mark McGinley.
Shortly after the Belfield side got back on terms with a neat header at the far post from centre-back Mick Leahy that just crept past Kieran McHenry. But Cork were hungry for goals and were 2-1 ahead minutes before the break. Eric Hegarty set up the chance, finding Rufus Holmes free on the edge of the box and the UCC winger met the cross on the half volley to leave McGinley helpless.
UCD probably felt their fine run of Collingwood Cup successes was coming to a end when McHenry saved brilliantly from a Paul Corry spot kick midway into the second-half and when Cillian Morrison failed to beat the Cork ‘keeper with a header shortly after the Belfield side’s hold on the trophy was finally broken.
M McGinley, D Fallon, D Lehane, DO’Connor, M Leahy, P Corry, S Doyle (T McNeilis 75), J Timmons, S Belhout (B O’Brochlain 75), C Morrisson, M Langtry (M Whelan 70).
K McHenry, K O’Shea (S O’Sullivan 60), A Neville, M McSweeney, C Forde, D O’Donovan (K Bambury 70), R Waters (E Kilcommins 75) , L Burgess, J O’Shea (S Hegarty 65) , E Hegarty, R Holmes.
M Quinn, S McWilliams (V Hennigan 75), J Doherty, L Rushe, J Peden (P King 75), S Doyle, N Khan (M King 70), S Hutchinson, M Anderson, S Jennings, M Kelly.
NUIJ Keane, E Preston-Kelly, S Browne (A Lee 60), C Fadden, M Conneely, C McBrien, T Doherty, J Keane (G Cheevers ht), M Creane, B Gaffney (B Conlon 75), E Dunne (P Scally ht).