Monday 18 December 2017

Donnelly shines as UUJ sink Maynooth

UUJ 0-12 NUI Maynooth 0-10

Cian Murphy

UUJ are on course for their first Sigerson success since 2008 -- but only after surviving a massive dogfight with Maynooth.

Jordanstown cruised past Carlow IT in the quarter-finals but had to claw their way ahead of a NUIM side who refused to go quietly.

Buoyed by their surprise victory over UL on Thursday, NUIM made all the early running and with their Laois star centre-forward Paul Cahillane in command and corner-forward David Quinn finding his range, they were three points up after only five minutes.

It wasn't until Jordanstown moved their Monaghan defender Dessie Moan onto Cahillane that the Ulster side began to settle.

But once they found their bearings, UUJ looked in a different class as Conor McManus, Caolan O'Boyle, Diarmuid McNulty and Matthew Donnelly helped them into a 0-8 to 0-5 interval lead.

However, a combination of poor finishing and stout resistance from Cahillane and midfielder Conor Brophy kept Maynooth in contention.

NUIM had the chance to pull level when defender Tommy Johnston cut through on a brilliant run only for his drive at goal to be blocked by Gerard McCartan.

Shaken to life by this let-off, UUJ upped their intensity, with Niall Holly and McNulty prominent.

But the key man for Adrian McGuckian's side was their young Tyrone forward Donnelly.

A member of Tyrone's All-Ireland minor winning side of 2008, the powerful full-forward looked in the same classy mould as Stephen O'Neill and couldn't be contained when he got on the ball.

On this evidence he will be a serious addition to the Red Hand as he's expected to join up with the senior squad.

A sluggish UUJ failed to press on and allowed NUIM to creep back into the game but as Cahillane and Brophy tired they struggled. A booming late point from Donnelly finally killed off their challenge.

Scorers -- UUJ: M Donnelly 0-5, D McNulty, C O'Boyle, C McManus 0-2 each, C McGinley 0-1. NUIM: D Quinn 0-4 (4f), P Cahillane 0-2 (2f), P Ó'Conghaile, C Brophy, C Berrigan, N Murphy 0-1 each.

SCORERS - UUJ: G Kelly; G McCartan, B Donaghy, C Galligan; D Mone, D Morgan, C McGinley; C Murney, N Holly; D McNulty, C O'Boyle, P Hughes; J McAnulla, M Donnelly, C McManus. Subs: K Dyas for Hughes (55), J O'Neill for McAnulla (55), C Donnelly for McGinley (59).

NUI MAYNOOTH: S Connolly; C Freeman, D Booth, T Gallagher; P Ó'Conghaile, D Quinn, K O'Brien; C Brophy, C Berrigan; M Hanratty, P Cahillane, N Murphy; F Barry, G McIntyre, D Quinn. Subs: W Ryan for Ó'Conghaile (18), T Johnson for Gallagher (48), C Mallon for Barry (54).

Ref -- Con Reynolds (Down)

Irish Independent

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