On a wretched afternoon for football, when the wind and rain swept onto Salthill Devon Drom pitch from the Atlantic, it took a pair of long-range efforts to settle the semi-finals of the annual Universities four-day blitz.
Up against hosts NUI Galway, UCC had a battle on their hands with the westerners enjoying the better of it once they recovered from the scare of seeing Daniel Pender’s free-kick smack of their crossbar during the opening half. With extra-time looming, Abbott struck the only goal of the contest. His free-kick may have been launched from afar and at acute angle, but still caught NUIJ cold by floating straight into the net. The outcome was tough on the hosts, having had two goals disallowed in the second-half.
UCC: C Bornemann; D Pender, A Gannon, S O’Mahony, C Murphy: K O’Shea, B Murphy, J Abbott, S O’Callaghan (C Lordan 78), C O’Callaghan, C Barry.
NUI GALWAY: J Keane, C Horgan, S Rodden (T Bradshaw 80), J Woods, S O’Rourke, T Nzuara (B O'Grady 75), E Boyce (C Barry 78), S Gavin, V Faherty, N Whelan, A Sanusi (P Cunningham 70).
Referee: C Fitzgerald (Galway).
UCC’s final opponents are Trinity, who maintained their march towards ending a 36-year wait for the coveted trophy by beating fancied UCD 1-0 in the other semi. Darren O’Donoghue, on target in Monday’s win over Royal College of Surgeons, supplied another precious goal nine minutes into the second-half. The final is at Eamonn Deacy Park today (4pm).
TRINITY COLLEGE: D Minihane; C Medlar, D Vogel, C Moran, C O’Neill, M Collins (E Vaughan 70), A Ben Mohammed, C McGahon, A Hughes, B O’Reilly, D O’Donoghue.
UCD: N Corbet; C Quinn (C Feeney 80), R McLaughlin, M Kouogum (C Cullen 46), N Wright; S Belhout, T O’Halloran (M Boland 85), T Molloy (G Sloggett 46), J Keohane; N Hanley, C Cannon (C Suen 65).
Referee: M Lynch (Galway).