Hosts' hopes dashed by defiant UCC

 

SIGERSON CUP SEMI-FINAL UCC 0-13 UCD 0-11:UCC ADDED another impressive scalp to their collection when they shocked the Sigerson hosts in a dramatic semi-final in Belfield yesterday.

After stunning the favourites DCU in the quarter-finals, Billy Morgan’s giant killers were at it again as the 7/1 outsiders made a mockery of that ranking with another classy display.

UCD had pulled out all the stops in this, the 100th anniversary of their inaugural Sigerson triumph – but they could have no complaints as they were deservedly beaten by a fiercely committed UCC, who soaked up periods of intense pressure before showing their class on the break.

UCC haven’t won the Sigerson since 1995 and UCD made the better start as Westmeath’s teen star John Heaslin inspired them into a three-point lead.

But for a team devoid of big names, a well-drilled UCC showed impressive composure.

And they had inspirational players in Seán Kiely, James Fitzpatrick and Mark Collins and an ace marksman in Barry O’Driscoll.

UCC recovered from an edgy opening to reel off five unanswered points as their lightning movement helped give them a 0-8 to 0-5 interval lead.

UCD lost influential Dublin defender Michael Fitzsimons to injury at the start of the second half but they dominated at midfield and levelled at 0-9 apiece through John O’Loughlin and Rob Kelly by the 44th minute.

It was during this storm that UCC held their nerve impressively and continued to defend brilliantly but they were helped by a succession of poor wides from a panic stricken UCD, who crucially never got their noses in front.

All-Ireland-winning Cork panellist Seán Kiely drove them forward and they took their chance to relieve the pressure through Shane Beston and Will Kennedy.

UCD countered through Wexford’s Ciarán Lyng and Antrim’s Kevin McGourty to level in the last minute of normal time. But a defiant UCC never buckled and made clever use of hard-won possession with a Daithí Casey free and Mark Collins effort booking their place in the final with UUJ.

UCC: K O’Halloran; P Crowley, E O’Mahony, J O’Sullivan; S Kiely (0-2), A Greaney, B Daly; W Kennedy (0-2), J Fitzpatrick (0-2); K O’Driscoll, M Collins (0-1), JB Spillane; B O’Driscoll (0-2, one free), D Casey (0-3, three frees), J Buckley. Subs: S Beston (0-1) for Buckley (inj) (38 mins), N Daly for Greaney (inj) (48 mins), S O’Brien for O’Driscoll (58 mins).

UCD: M Savage; S Redmond, C Forde, M Fitzsimons; M McGowan, C Brady, J Fitzpatrick; J Heslin (0-2, one free), C Murphy; K McGourty (0-1), J O’Loughlin (0-2), M Coughlan (0-1); R Kelly (0-2, one free), D Kingston (0-2), C Lyng (0-1). Subs: C Dyas for Coughlan (ht), M Brazil for Fitzsimons (34 mins, inj), D Larkin for Fitzpatrick (55 mins).

Referee: Pat Fox(Westmeath).