John Heslin stars as UCD dethrone DCU in absorbing Sigerson Final
DCU 2-02 UCD 0-10
Westmeath star John Heslin hit six points as UCD clinched a first Sigerson Cup in 20 years, beating Dublin rivals DCU in Jordanstown.
The south Dublin college were the better side throughout and triumphed despite Dublin stars Paul Mannion and Jack McCaffrey limping off with minor injuries, and losing Kildare forward Niall Kelly to a black card in the first half.
UCD were a point up when McCaffrey went off with a hamstring injury three minutes from the end but he paid tribute to the late Dave Billings, a UCD stalwart as he accepted the Sigerson Cup from GAA President Aogan Farrell.
“We didn't use the memory of Dave as motivation at any one point during the year, but he was kind of with us all the way.
“He always preached about how the Sigerson Cup was about the friendships we'd make, but winning this isn't half bad either.”
UCD started brightly and led 0-4 to 0-1 after 18 minutes, Heslin scoring two frees and a point and Monaghan's Conor McCarthy scoring the first of his two points, before Mannion limped out of the game.
2015 champions DCU were behind for most of the game and only scored one point from play, a spectacular score from the wing from Stephen Attride in the sixth minute.
They did lead at the break, though, having had their best spell scoring 1-1 in injury-time.
Tipperary midfielder Stephen O'Brien scored a 30th minute goal and Shane Carey nailed a free to put them 1-2 to 0-5 ahead.
UCD reeled off four unanswered points in the third quarter, including three Heslin frees, to go 0-8 to 1-2 ahead after 44 minutes.
Then DCU were awarded a penalty against the run of play.
Conor McHugh went on a good run down the left and passed inside to fellow sub Conor McGraynor, who swivelled and was upended in the square.
Conor Moynagh stepped up and buried the penalty in the 52nd minute to draw the holders level at 2-2 to 0-8.
DCU dropped two points balls into the goalkeeper's hands and UCD made them pay with Heslin converting a sweet point from the left after 56 minutes.
UCD picked up their second black card when McCarthy went late on, but having used all six subs it meant they finished the game with 14 men.
McCaffrey's replacement, Stephen Coen, scored a left-footed point from a tight angle in the first minute of stoppage time to clinch it for UCD.
Scorers for UCD – J Heslin 0-6 (4f), C McCarthy 0-2, P Mannion 0-1 (f), S Coen 0-1
Scorers for DCU – S O'Brien 1-0, C Moynagh 1-0 (pen), S Carey 0-1 (f), S Attride 0-1
UCD: E Keogh (Laois); R Wylie (Monaghan), D Hyland (Kildare), D Byrne (Dublin), C Mullaly (Dublin), M Fitzsimons (Dublin), J McCaffrey (Dublin); L Casey (Tipperary), R McDaid (Dublin); C McCarthy (Monaghan), J Heslin (Westmeath), C Basquel (Dublin); E Lowry (Laois), P Mannion (Dublin), N Kelly (Kildare)
Subs: T Hayes (Cavan) for Mannion (17), J McEntee (Meath) for Kelly (BC, 29), S Coen (Mayo) for McEntee (43), J Barry (Kerry) for Lowry (53), S O'Dea (Limerick) for McCaffrey (57), T Moolick for Casey (58)
DCU: P O'Donnell (Donegal); K Daly (Westmeath), K Feeley (Kildare), J Smith (Dublin); S Attride (Laois), C Moynagh (Cavan), D Byrne (Dublin); S O'Brien (Tipperary), M Quinn (Longford); D O'Connor (Mayo), E Smith (Roscommon), C Begley (Laois); R Connor (Longford), R Lyons (Fermanagh), S Carey (Monaghan)
Subs: S Carthy (Dublin) for Quinn (HT), C McGraynor (Wicklow) for Connor (HT),
D Ward (Monaghan) for Daly (44), C McHugh (Dublin) for Carey (47), C Breheny (Sligo) for Lyons (47), C McNally (Armagh) for Smith (59)
REFEREE: David Coldrick (Meath)