UCC come storming home to set up Sigerson decider with DCU

Carlow IT’s half-time lead is blown away at The Mardyke

UCC’s Conor Cox is challenged by Carlow IT’s  Thomas Featherston during the Sigerson Cup semi-final at The Mardyke in Cork. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

UCC’s Conor Cox is challenged by Carlow IT’s Thomas Featherston during the Sigerson Cup semi-final at The Mardyke in Cork. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

 

UCC 2-12 Carlow IT 0-8

UCC will meet DCU in the Sigerson Cup final after an ultimately comfortable 10-point win over Carlow IT. Despite trailing at half-time, second-half goals from Luke Connolly and Thomas Hickey were enough to put the Leinster side away. But they didn’t have it all their own way.

With UCC available at the frankly vulgar odds of 1/16, this was supposed to be a turkey shoot. Winning DCU manager Niall Moyna inadvertently admitted as much in his interview after the first game, letting slip DCU’s intention to “go away now and prepare for Cork”.

But for a good two-thirds of the game, it was anything but. UCC were knocked out of their rhythm by a dogged Carlow side for whom Brendan Murphy got through endless work. Carlow even led at half-time, 0-6 to 0-5. Maybe someone tipped them the wink about Moyna’s faux-pas beforehand.

As it was, defending champions UCC were made to look all kinds of ordinary in that first half. They forged an early 0-3 to 0-1 lead with Conor Cox looking dangerous but that was as good as it got before the break.

Carlow were emboldened and pushed on into a 0-5 to 0-3 lead. Liam Boland kicked a couple of points, Kevin Ryan iced a lovely score on the run. Though none of it was especially fluid, it was more than enough for the home side who were struggling to find any answer.

When it came, however, their captain supplied it. Cork regular Tomás Clancy surged forward to set up full forward David Harrington for a point and soon after Cox stitched on his third of the day.

Though Carlow pushed ahead again before half-time with a free from Barry McHugh, you could see that if UCC put their mind to it in the second half they would surely have enough in hand.

And so it proved. Cox put on an exhibition after the break, finishing with seven points in total. Connolly took advantage of an errant punch from goalkeeper Shane Murphy to score their first goal, Hickey sold Murphy a gorgeous dummy to trickle home their second.

Carlow were overwhelmed and only managed two points altogether in the second half.

UCC: M Martin; F McNamara, J McGuire, P O’Connor; D Culhane (0-1), C Dorman, T Clancy (0-1); S Kiely, G O’Sullivan; S Keane (0-1), L Connolly (1-0), B O’Driscoll; T Hickey (1-1), D Harrington (0-1), C Cox (0-7, three frees).

Subs: A O’Donovan for Dorman (52 mins); K Davis for Connolly (58 mins).

CARLOW IT: S Murphy (0-1, free); T O’Connell, T Featherston, E Walsh; D Smyth, E Lynch, C Lawlor; W Young, M Sherry; A Forde (0-1), A Dever, K Ryan (0-1); L Boland (0-2, one free), B Murphy (0-1), B McHugh (0-2, frees).

Subs: M Mangan for Dever (half-time); C Conroy for McHugh (44 mins); K Mulvaney for Boland (53 mins).

Referee: D O’Mahoney (Tipperary)

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