UCD hold off UL to remain on course for Independent.ie Sigerson Cup two in-a-row
UCD 1-10 UL 0-11
Record winners and defending champions UCD will face St Mary’s in tomorrow’s Independent.ie Sigerson Cup final after Paul Mannion’s second-half penalty edged a tight encounter with UL in their favour in Bekan.
The Limerick college led by a point at the interval, but never took the lead again after Mannion’s strike five minutes after the break.
Playing against a significant wind the in the first-half, UCD got off to a flying start thanks to points from Barry O’Sullivan and Eamon Wallace in the first couple of minutes.
But to their credit UL were soon level when Niall McDermott landed his first free after he was fouled himself, and Brendan O’Keefe also kicked a free from the other side.
He may have missed out on Dublin’s All-Ireland campaign last summer, but captain Jack McCaffrey has been a key figure in this UCD team, and it was his 13th minute point that restored the lead for the Leinster college.
UL were briefly level after a Denis Daly 45, but a couple of quick scores in reply from Dublin star Paul Mannion meant John Divilly’s side moved 0-5 to 0-3 clear after 18 minutes.
But UL have proved they are a stern opponent in this year’s competition, and they went on to score four of the next five points to take the lead at the break.
Paul White, Niall McDermott (2) and recent Mayo debutant Fergal Boland all found the target as UL took a deserved 0-7 to 0-6 lead into half-time.
But the game took a significant twist after the restart. A free from Barry McGinn had UCD level in the 32nd minute before a foul on Daire Quinn resulted in a penalty which Mannion converted for a 1-7 to 0-7 lead for UCD.
Yet again, there was a great response from the Munster college as a free from McDermott was added to by Michael Geaney and Denis Daly and that sizeable lead had disappeared by the 41st minute.
But with both teams tiring, UCD made the most of their wind advantage and kicked on in the final quarter. A good point from McGinn came quick on the heels of that UL leveller, and after a fallow period of play the vital score of the game fell to the Dublin students when McCarthy made it a two-point lead.
The introduction of Corofin and Galway forward Ian Burke did liven up the UL attack, and his point four minutes from the end put the minimum between the sides as full-time approached.
But despite seeing full-back Michael Fitzsimons black carded for a pull down on Burke, UCD made sure of the win when McCarthy floated over a 62nd minute free.
At the death UL had one final chance to sneak victory but Gearoid Hegarty’s shot flashed wide of Colm Honan’s post, as the Dublin side reached another final.
Scorers – UCD: P Mannion 1-2 (1-0pen), C McCarthy 0-3 (1f), B McGinn 0-2, B O’Sullivan, E Wallace, J McCaffrey 0-1 each.
UL: N McDermott 0-4 (3f), D Daly 0-2 (1’45), P White, F Boland, M Geaney, B O’Keefe (f), I Burke (f) 0-1 each.
UCD: C Honan; E Muchan, M Fitzsimons, J Rossiter; S Coen, J McCaffrey, S O’Dea; B O’Sullivan, L Casey; S Mullooly, C McCarthy, E Wallace; L Moran, P Mannion, B McGinn.
Subs: C O’Dea for Ryan (h-t), C Mullally for Mullooly (h-t), J Barry for Wallace (h-t), R McDaid for Mullally (51), E Lowry for Moran (54), A McDonnell for Fitzsimons (55 BC).
UL: C O’Driscoll; C Long, J Mullins, D Brosnan; P White, L Boland, P Lillis; G Hegarty, C Sheehan; F Boland, M Geaney, B O’Keefe; S Ryan, D Daly, N McDermott.
Subs: I Burke for O’Keefe (46), J Goulding for Daly (57), J Naughton for Genaey (60), C McNamee for Boland (60).
Referee: John Gilmartin (Sligo).