Saturday 18 November 2017

Mary's shrug off early setbacks to stun UCD

St Mary's 0-13 UCD 2-6

St. Mary's University Belfast captain Conor Meyler lifts the Sigerson Cup as his team-mates celebrate. Photo: Sportsfile
St. Mary's University Belfast captain Conor Meyler lifts the Sigerson Cup as his team-mates celebrate. Photo: Sportsfile

St Mary's from Belfast pulled off a major shock to land the independent.ie Sigerson Cup with a thrilling victory at the Connacht GAA Centre in Mayo.

Paddy Tally's men recovered from the concession of two early goals to win only their second title, denying 2016 champions UCD their 34th crown.

And it was a thoroughly deserved win for the Ulster side, who also came back from conceding two early goals in Friday's semi-final win over UCC.

Colm Basquel gave the champions a dream start when he found the net after just 52 seconds, and then added another in the third minute, against the strong wind. But St Mary's responded well and Oisin O'Neill got them moving after ten minutes with their first score.

St. Mary's Ciaran Mac Iomhar tries to skip a challenge from Andy McDonnell of UCD. Photo: INPHO
St. Mary's Ciaran Mac Iomhar tries to skip a challenge from Andy McDonnell of UCD. Photo: INPHO

Conall McCann, Conor Meyler and O'Neill cut the gap to two points. Cathal McShane and McCann then hit the target to tie the match before O'Neill edged them in front with a couple of frees, and then Ciaran Corrigan pointed.

Paul Mannion eventually ended a 26-minute scoreless spell for UCD when he pointed after a short kickout was intercepted, and that left two between the sides at the interval at 0-9 to 2-1. McShane extended the lead after the restart before Barry McGinn and Conor McCarthy responded.

But the champions couldn't get level, with Kieran McGeary pointing for St Mary's and, when Eamon Wallace cut the gap, the Belfast side hit back again through the point of the match from Corey Quinn to lead by 0-12 to 2-4. McKeary put three between them two minutes from time and, while Basquel and McCarthy cut the gap to the minimum, the holders couldn't force extra-time.

Scorers - St Mary's: O O'Neill 0-4 (3f), K McGeary (f), C McCann & C McShane 0-2 each, C Meyler, C Corrigan & C Quinn 0-1 each. UCD: C Basquel 2-1, C McCarthy 0-2 (f), P Mannion, B McGinn & E Wallace 0-1 each.

St Mary's: M Reid; R Mooney, A McKay, K Mallon; C Byrne, C Mac Iomhar, C Meyler; C McCann, O O'Neill; C Corrigan, K McGeary, S McConville; K McKernan, M Fitzpatrick, C McShane. Subs: C Quinn for McConville (45), Hannigan for Mallon (63).

UCD: C Honan; M Fitzsimons, R McDaid, E Murchan; C Mullally, S Coen, J McCaffrey; B O'Sullivan, J Barry; C McCarthy, A McDonnell, E Wallace; P Mannion, C Basquel, B McGinn. Subs: L Casey for McDonnell (30), T Hayes for Mannion (56), L Moran for O'Sullivan (58, black).

Referee: C Lane (Cork).

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