Late surge seals Fitzgibbon Cup semi-final spot for UCC
Goal from Tipperary’s Michael Breen finally breaks the challenge of determined DCU
Cork’s Alan Cadogan in action for UCC against DCU during the Fitzgibbon Cup quarter-final clash at the Mardyke Arena. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho
UCC’s Anthony Spillane tries to get away from DCU’s Sean McCaw at the Mardyke Arena. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho
UCC 1-18 DCU 0-16
UCC struck late to shrug off the gutsy DCU challenge and qualify for the Fitzgibbon Cup semi-final for the first time since 2014 after a hard-fought game in testing conditions at the Mardyke yesterday.
The Cork students held a slender 0-16 to 0-15 lead against the wind, when Waterford star Patrick Curran missed an easy free from in front of the posts four minutes from the end to level matters for the ninth time.
Moments later he hit an upright from a well-struck sideline cut and UCC made the most of their escape to score a quickfire 1-2 in injury-time.
A long-range Séamus Kennedy free gave them some breathing space before substitutes Mark O’Connor, with a fine point from distance, and Tipperary’s Michael Breen, who pounced for the only goal, wrapped up victory.
DCU, who were attempting to make the finals weekend for the first time since 1997, more than matched their illustrious opponents and were level at 0-11 apiece at the interval.
Curran’s free-taking helped them cancel equally impressive shooting from Anthony Spillane and Kennedy for UCC, who were grateful for goalkeeper Jack Barry denying Curran midway through the half.
And Barry was needed again in the second half, when saving from DCU substitute Eoghan McHugh, before the 38-times champions came with a late flourish.
UCC: J Barry; I Kenny, C Spillane, captain, S Roche; S Kennedy (0-5, four from frees), C Gleeson, R Cahalane; J Barron (0-2, one from a free), C O’Leary (0-2, one from a ‘65, one from a free); G O’Brien (0-1), T Devine, M O’Brien (0-1); A Cadogan (0-2, one from a free), J O’Flynn, A Spillane (0-3). Subs: M Breen (1-0) for O’Flynn 26 mins, M O’Halloran (0-1) for O’Brien 41 mins, M O’Connor (0-1) for Cahalane 46 mins, E Gunning for Kenny injured 56 mins.
DCU: R Gillen; S McCaw, C Delaney, E O’Donnell; T French, P Foley, captain, A Maddock; P O’Dea (0-1), G Bailey; L Fahey (0-1), R McBride (0-2), J Byrne; E Conroy, P Curran (0-7, six from frees), AJ Murphy (0-3). Subs: K Doyle (0-1) for McCaw 18 mins, H O’Connor for Bailey 45 mins, E McHugh for Byrne 47 mins, P Kelly (0-1) for Doyle 59 mins
Referee: A Kelly (Galway)