NUIG overcome David Clifford’s UL to claim Sigerson Cup glory

Cathal Heneghan has the final say as NUI Galway claim their 23rd title

NUIG 0-12 UL 1-6

Sometimes not even the genius of David Clifford is enough.

The Kerry All-Star scored 1-2 in the Electric Ireland Sigerson Cup final, finishing the third level tournament with a staggering 6-22, yet in the end it was Roscommon’s Cathal Heneghan who decided this contest.

Level at half-time amid driving rain at tournament hosts IT Carlow’s grounds, NUI Galway reeled off six points in a row to put themselves in a winning position, substitute Heneghan scoring three of them.


The Glaveys clubman and Roscommon senior only came on at the interval but ended up winning the Man of the Match award as NUI Galway clinched their 23rd title and first since 2003.

Gavin Burke, Paul Kelly and Mayo attacker Fionn McDonagh all capped strong performances with important scores too.

The landmark win keeps the university on course for a potential third level double with their Fitzgibbon Cup side already through to Saturday’s decider.

UL and Kerry talisman Clifford did his best to spoil the party with a 45th minute penalty conversion which helped his side to draw within a point of NUI Galway.

But that was as good as it got for them with late NUI Galway points from Burke, McDonagh and Galway star Tomo Culhane sealing a memorable win.

NUI Galway played with the wind initially and we wondered if they’d kick themselves for not making more of that advantage as they wasted a number of chances.

They did surge three points clear early on thanks to scores from McDonagh, Kelly and Burke but didn’t score again until early in the second as UL reeled them in to leave it 0-3 apiece at half-time, Clifford twice converting frees.

It was a difficult watch as both sets of players struggled with the rain sodden conditions.

Heneghan’s introduction was the game’s turning point and he reeled off the first two points of the second-half.

NUI Galway struck six unanswered points in total and while UL battled back bravely with Clifford converting the penalty, their bid for a maiden title came up short.

NUI GALWAY: C Carroll; E Kelly, N Mulcahy, C Murray; R Egan, S Kelly, G Durcan; P Kelly (0-1), M Tierney (0-1, 1f); F McDonagh (0-2), N Mullen, C Donoghue; G Burke (0-2), C Sweeney, T Culhane (0-3, 0-2 frees). Subs: C Heneghan (0-3) for Donoghue (h-t), T Gill for Durcan (42 mins), R Monaghan for Mullen (64 mins).

UL: C Flaherty; C Donnelly, J Coyne, P Maher; G O'Donovan, S Powter, E McLaughlin (0-1); C Dempsey, D Walsh; C Downes, E McMahon, D Gray; P Towey (0-1), D Clifford (1-2, 1-0pen, 0-2 frees), D O'Sullivan (0-1). Subs: J Glynn for Powter (h-t), P Walsh (0-1) for Dempsey (42 mins), O Looney for Downes (55 mins), J McCarthy for Gray (58 mins).

Referee: D Gough (Meath).