Tuesday 22 May 2018

Heslin points the way as UCD dig deep to clinch Independent.ie Sigerson Cup

UCD 0-10 DCU 2-2

UCD’s John Heslin tries to hold off DCU defender Kevin Feely during Saturday’s independent.ie Sigerson Cup final. Photo: Sportsfile
UCD’s John Heslin tries to hold off DCU defender Kevin Feely during Saturday’s independent.ie Sigerson Cup final. Photo: Sportsfile

Orla Bannon

Niall Moyna announced his departure as manager of DCU in the wake of defeat to the university he ­admits inspired him to create a dynasty.

UCD were deserving winners of Saturday's Sigerson Cup final in ­Jordanstown, ending a 20-year wait for a 33rd title, and afterwards Moyna said the time has come to let the "next generation" take over at DCU.

Under the Monaghan man, DCU emerged as a third-level giant of elite sport in the last decade, winning four Sigerson Cups, in 2006, 2010, 2012 and 2015.

He confirmed he will remain at the university as Professor of Health and Human Performance, but has already identified who should succeed him as manager.

"This is my last Sigerson. I'm 15 years at it and I just thought it needs a change," he revealed.

"This is maybe the fifth or sixth team I've built.

"We won the Freshers League and Championship this year and there's a great group of players coming along, so I could be selfish and stay at it because I think we have a good enough team to win next year.


"But that's not the right thing to do. The right thing to do is to let the next generation come through.

"I have one person in mind... if I can convince him to take it."

If he was going to sign off losing to anybody, Moyna seemed genuinely pleased that it was to DCU.

Paying tribute to UCD's long-term mentor Dave Billings, who passed away last year, Moyna credited him with DCU's transformation.

"When I came to DCU first, Dave was so passionate about UCD and the Sigerson and he told me we were a little university over in the north side.

"I said to myself 'By Jaysus, you'll live to regret those words'.

"I went home and said to myself that I was going to build a dynasty, so he really was the motivating factor for me getting involved in Sigerson at DCU.

"So I'm delighted for UCD and Dave, he was a lovely man. And we have no excuses.

"We were always playing catch-up and were beaten by a better team."

UCD had to overcome a number of hurdles, Dublin star Paul Mannion limping off early on with a quad injury and Kildare forward Niall Kelly black-carded before half-time.

After playing all the football in the first 25 minutes and leading 0-4 to 0-1, they were hit with a sucker-punch in first-half injury-time through Stephen O'Brien's goal and trailed 1-2 to 0-4 at the break.

Westmeath's John Heslin showed his quality with 0-6, including three frees in the third quarter as UCD pulled clear again.

However, Conor Moynagh's 52nd-minute penalty, after Conor McGraynor was upended in the square, drew DCU level again.

Heslin swung over a superb score into the wind and sub Stephen Coen hit a late point to secure victory.

Manager John Divilly played down injury fears over Dublin duo Mannion and Jack McCaffrey.

The reigning Footballer of the Year went off early in Friday's facile semi-­final win over UL, and although he started Saturday's final, he went off with three minutes remaining with his side a point up.

"Jack said he was good to go, and you have to trust the player sometimes," Divilly said.

"He was captain and I said 'off you go and give it everything you have'."

Divilly was unhappy with the ­refereeing performance of David Coldrick who black-carded Kelly and Conor McCarthy.

"I thought every decision went against us to be perfectly honest, but sometimes you have days like that and you have to try to keep your cool on the line.

"It was hard because a lot of decisions went against us, but I'm delighted. A lot of hard work has gone into this."

Scorers - UCD: J Heslin 0-6 (4f); C McCarthy 0-2; P Mannion (f), S Coen 0-1 each. DCU: S O'Brien, C Moynagh (pen) 1-0 each; S Carey (f), S Attride 0-1 each.

UCD: E Keogh; R Wylie, D Hyland, D Byrne; C Mullaly, M Fitzsimons, J McCaffrey; L Casey, R McDaid; C McCarthy, J Heslin, C Basquel; E Lowry, P Mannion, N Kelly. Subs: T Hayes for Mannion (17), J McEntee for Kelly (BC, 29), S Coen for McEntee (43), J Barry for Lowry (53), S O'Dea for McCaffrey (57), T Moolick for Casey (58).

DCU: P O'Donnell; K Daly, K Feeley, J Smith; S Attride, C Moynagh, D Byrne; S O'Brien, M Quinn; D O'Connor, E Smith, C Begley; R Connor, R Lyons, S Carey. Subs: S Carthy for Quinn (HT), C McGraynor for Connor (HT), D Ward for Daly (44), C McHugh for Carey (47), C Breheny for Lyons (47), C McNally for Smith (59).

Ref: David Coldrick (Meath).

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