UCC up the intensity in second half to pull clear of St Mary's


UCC 0-13 St Mary's Belfast 1-6:UCC produced a very strong second-half performance to grind out a deserved victory over St Mary’s in yesterday’s Sigerson Cup quarter-final at the Ballykelly grounds in Kildare. The Skull and Crossbones got off to a fine start with points from Kevin O’Driscoll and Conor Cox (free) inside five minutes.

Tyrone goalkeeper Niall Morgan advanced to get St Mary’s off the mark with a wonderfully-struck 45 into a diagonal breeze and it was nip and tuck from there to the end of the half.

Conor Clarke helped St Mary’s gain a foothold around the middle with some wonderful catches and a Thomas Canavan free brought the sides level at the end of the first quarter.

Cox and Canavan exchanged frees – Canavan’s was the second one to be moved forward by Fergal Barry due to dissent by a UCC player – before Cox struck his first from play to put his side 0-5 to 0-4 up at half-time.

The Leesiders upped their intensity significantly after the resumption and were the better side throughout the second half. They were three points clear when Benny Herron burst through and finished expertly for a treasured St Mary’s goal.

Undeterred, UCC showed their grit as Peter Crowley restored their advantage and further scorers from substitute Luke Connolly, Eoin Buckley (free), Cox (free) and O’Driscoll gave them vital breathing space.

UCC: S Mellett; P Galvin, E O’Mahony, J O’Sullivan; P Crowley (0-1), N Daly, T Clancy; D O’Sullivan, P Acheson; K O’Driscoll (0-2); B Coughlan, JB Spillane; E Buckley (0-3, two frees), C Cox (0-6, three frees), C McSweeney. Subs: G O’Grady for McSweeney (h-t); L Connolly (0-1) for O’Sullivan (49 mins).

ST MARY’S: N Morgan (0-1, 45); M Murray (0-1), N Donnelly, C O’Hara; D McCusker, N McParland, B Doyle; C Clarke, D McBride; N Sludden, B Herron (1-1), A Forker; R Sexton, P Harte, T Canavan (0-2, frees). Subs: J Johnstone (0-1) for Canavan (50); M Stevenson for Sexton (51). Referee: F Barry (Kildare).

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