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Morgan praises UCC's battling spirit to hold off Jordanstown fightback

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Connor McAliskey, University of Ulster Jordanstown, in action against Brian Shanahan, University College Cork

Connor McAliskey, University of Ulster Jordanstown, in action against Brian Shanahan, University College Cork

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Tom Clancy, University College Cork, in action against Kieran Hughes, University of Ulster Jordanstown

Tom Clancy, University College Cork, in action against Kieran Hughes, University of Ulster Jordanstown

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Paul Geaney, University College Cork holds aloft the Sigerson cup

Paul Geaney, University College Cork holds aloft the Sigerson cup

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Connor McAliskey, University of Ulster Jordanstown, in action against Brian Shanahan, University College Cork

Conor Dorman snatched victory and the cup for UCC with a winning point in the last minute to beat UUJ on Saturday night.

UCC led by 0-9 to 0-2 and looked to be coasting to victory in Belfast until Jordanstown, inspired by Tyrone forward Ronan O'Neill, reeled off seven points in a row to draw level with a minute to go.

The game looked destined for extra-time at Queen's playing fields until Conor Cox passed the ball across to centre-back Dorman who scored from 25 yards out, seconds before the hooter sounded.

The swirling wind was a factor all night and no one was sure whether Dorman's point actually went between the posts or not, but it mattered little to UCC who collected their 22nd Sigerson Cup title.

"I just looked at the umpire and he raised the white flag so we're absolutely delighted to get over the line," said Cox, who top-scored with six points.

UCC manager Billy Morgan, who made his Sigerson Cup debut at Queen's 50 years ago, admitted he was worried when Cox missed a simple 20-metre free late on.

"We were a point up and missed a free to go two up, then Ronan O'Neill scored a superb point and it was anyone's game," he said.

"But from our very first game of the season, we have battled well and we did it again tonight."

It was quite a triumph for Morgan to beat star-studded NUI Maynooth and UUJ teams over the weekend, despite having no big inter-county names in his line-up.

"It is very similar to 2011 (when they also beat UUJ in the final), we had no marquee names then either," he said, "but we have 23 genuine students and I think you'll hear about these players in years to come."

UUJ were left to rue the 16 wides they kicked over the hour.

UCC were outstanding in defence and forced their opponents into poor shot selection while they were much more clinical with less possession. Cox kicked all six of UCC's first-half points and they led by 0-6 to 0-2 at the break.

The Cork college scored the first four points before Mattie Donnelly got Jordanstown's first point after 21 minutes, by which stage they had already kicked six wides.

Both sides had won their respective semi-finals in near gale-force winds on Friday, but UCC handled the cross-field wind much better in the final. The UUJ defence was under pressure and Dean McNally received a black card in the 26th minute for dragging down Paul Geaney.

MAGNIFICENT

Goalkeeper Rory Beggan then pulled off a magnificent save at full stretch from Geaney's bullet shot across goal to keep a struggling UUJ side in the game.

Luke Connolly and Michael Quinlivan points stretched UCC's lead out to 0-9 to 0-2 and UUJ looked out of ideas until Conor McAliskey and Kieran Hughes (free) got some spark going midway through the second-half.

Then O'Neill, the star of Tyrone's 2010 All-Ireland minor success, turned on the style with a free followed by a point.

The fightback was really on when Rory Beggan converted a '45' and O'Neill tapped over another free, and then O'Neill scored a majestic fourth point to draw the sides level with less than a minute to go.

However there was still time for one more moment of drama before the hooter sounded, with Dorman popping up with the winner with just seconds remaining.

Scorers – UCC: C Cox 0-6 (4fs, 1 '45'), T Clancy, M Quinlivan, L Connolly, C Dorman 0-1 each. UUJ: R O'Neill 0-4 (2fs), K Hughes 0-2 (2fs), M Donnelly, C McAliskey, R Beggan (1 '45') 0-1 each.

UCC – B Kelly; D Culhane, E O'Mahony, F McNamara; T Clancy, C Dorman, B Shanahan; D Nation, I McGuire; S Keane, L Connolly, B O'Driscoll; C Cox, M Quinlivan, P Geaney. Subs: S Kiely for Nation (37), E Healy for Keane (46)

UUJ – R Beggan; D McNally, C McKaigue, B Tierney; K Clarke, C Walshe, L Keaney; M Donnelly, N McKeever; D Savage, R O'Neill, K Hughes; C McAliskey, C O'Boyle, J Clarke. Subs: C McKaigue for McNally (BC, 26), P Devlin for Savage (43), R Donnelly for McAliskey (57).

REF – J McQuillan (Cavan)

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