Morgan hails UCC’s spirit in denying Ulstermen
Sigerson Cup Final
Wherever Billy Morgan places this accolade on his long list achievements, there is no doubting that going into the Sigerson weekend, this wasn't his, or UCC's, to win.
Anything can happen, of course, in the maelstrom of championship battle, but Morgan's outfit had to make the hard yards in an old-fashioned win-or-bust situation to even make the final day.
That they completed the task when they looked to have been reeled in on Saturday made the victory -- UCC's first since 1995 -- all the more impressive.
UUJ had rallied to come within a point at 0-7 to 0-6 with 10 minutes remaining, but UCC put their shoulders to the wheel and the spirit they had shown in toppling both DCU and UCD again held sway.
"Again it was like yesterday (Friday)," Morgan said afterwards. "UCD had come back and it looked like they were going to win it but again with these fellas; whether it's reserves of strength or whatever they have, they just dug in and came back again."
In a contest marked by a host of missed opportunities, the Rebel students made the earliest dent on the scoreboard, and were three points up after nine minutes through Sean Kiely, Will Kennedy and Mark Collins.
Although favourites going into the final, UUJ squandered numerous opportunities throughout the game, kicking 11 wides in total.
Barry O'Driscoll added to Jordanstown's woes with a terrific point off his left peg after 17 minutes, but UCC did little more to enhance the spectacle of a poor first half, in which they themselves notched up six wides to their four points.
Kevin O'Driscoll was instrumental for the Cork men throughout, with the ball seemingly going through the midfielder's hands at least once with UCC's every move.
Three minutes into the second half, he got his first score with a delightful fisted point after Greg Kelly had punched Barry O'Driscoll's dropping kick into his path. Barry O'Driscoll then tapped over two quick frees to extend his side's lead to five points with time running out for UUJ.
The Ulstermen were handed a lifeline when a mammoth score from half-back Kevin Dyas added to Connor McManus and Ciaran McGinley points and, after making the maximum of their possession in the middle of the second half, it seemed only a matter of moments before Jordanstown would catch up when the score stood at 0-7 to 0-6.
Kevin O'Driscoll tapped over from close range to re-establish the ascendancy in the 56th however, with the ever industrious JB Spillane at the heart of the move. It seemed to knock UUJ for six and John Buckley, of Kerry's Dr Crokes, made absolutely sure for the Cork side when he nailed a massive score towards the end.
SCORERS -- UCC: B O'Driscoll 0-3 (2f), M Collins (1f), K O'Driscoll 0-2 each, S Kiely, W Kennedy, J Buckley 0-1 each. UUJ: C McGinley, C McManus (1f) 0-2 each, C Galligan, K Dyas, M Donnelly 0-1 each.
UCC -- K O'Halloran; P Crowley, E O'Mahony, J O'Sullivan; S Kiely, N Daly, B Daly; K O'Driscoll, J Fitzpatrick; W Kennedy, M Collins, JB Spillane; B O'Driscoll, D Casey, J Buckley. Subs: S O'Brien for Kennedy (39), S Beston for Casey (58), M Griffin for B O'Driscoll (60).
UUJ -- G Kelly; D Moan, B Donaghy, C Galligan; K Dyas, D Morgan, C McGinley; C Murney, N Holly; P Hughes, C O'Boyle, D McNulty; J McAnulla, M Donnelly, C McMannus. Subs: E McGuckin for McAnulla (36), G McCartan for Murney (43), C Donnelly for O'Boyle (46), J O'Neill for McNulty (48).
Ref -- D Coldrick (Meath).