Saturday 17 March 2018

Donnelly influence crucial as UUJ roar back

UUJ 1-14 IT Sligo 0-11

Mattie Donnelly, UUJ, in action against Senan O'Grady, IT Sligo
Mattie Donnelly, UUJ, in action against Senan O'Grady, IT Sligo

Mayo footballer Evan Regan scored 10 points for IT Sligo, but a good second half helped Jordanstown to victory in their first-round clash in Belfast.

Ballina forward Regan, who left the Mayo squad last year, hit seven points (four from play) in the first half of a brilliant individual display.

Jordanstown started brightly and although their dangerous full-forward line of Jamie Clarke and Caolan O'Boyle was under-supplied, they still led by 0-5 to 0-3 after 18 minutes.

Sligo's best spell came before half-time when they racked up five points, with Regan's left boot causing mayhem for Monaghan All Star defender Colin Walshe. Galway's Paul Varley got Sligo's only other score as they led 0-8 to 0-6 at the break.

Regan tagged on a free five minutes after the restart to stretch the visitors' lead to three points and a shock result looked on the cards.

However, Jordanstown regrouped and Mattie Donnelly was hugely influential, hitting two points in the third quarter and carrying a lot of the ball into the Sligo defence.

Mark McHugh shackled playmaker Ronan O'Neill quite well, but the Tyrone forward got on the scoresheet as UUJ's dominance grew, with Killian Clarke and Niall McKeever also on target.

Conor McAlliskey bagged 1-1 in the last quarter. The Tyrone forward gathered Kieran Hughes' long ball and his low finish to the far corner in the 57th minute sealed the win.

Sligo suffered an early blow when Cathal Mulryan was given a black card in the second minute for tripping Barry Tierney and Sligo substitute Niall Walshe was also given a black card five minutes from the finish.

Scorers – UUJ: C O'Boyle 0-4fs, C McAlliskey 1-1, M Donnelly, K Clarke, N McKeever 0-2 each, P McPolin, R O'Neill, J Clarke 0-1 each IT Sligo: E Regan 0-10 (5fs, 1 '45'), P Varley 0-1.

UUJ: R Beggan; B Tierney, C McKaigue, C Walshe; P McPolin, L Keaney, K Clarke; M Donnelly, N McKeever; P Hughes, R O'Neill, D Savage; J Clarke, C O'Boyle, C McAlliskey Subs: K Hughes for P Hughes (35), K McKaigue for McPolin (58), R Donnelly for O'Neill (58).

IT SLIGO – A McCollig; R Donovan, M McWeeney, E Flanagan; K Cawley, K Brady, P Varley; S O'Grady, D Geraghty; M McHugh, R McHugh, C Mulryan; S Coen, P O'Connor, E Regan Subs: P Seoige for Mulryan (BC, 2) J O'Shaughnessy for O'Connor (15), N Walshe for O'Grady (45), C Kearns for Walshe (BC, 55).

REF – C Branagan (Down)

* Yesterday's Sigerson Cup game between Trinity College and UCC was postponed.

Irish Independent

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