McGraynor has final say as DCU edge Sigerson thriller
DCU 1-14 UCC 2-10
DCU clinched the independent.ie Sigerson Cup title after a game that squeezed a game’s worth of action into the two ten minute periods of extra-time in the Mardyke in Cork.
We might even have seen a replay but Luke Connolly’s effort from a long range free went wide with the last action of the game. Only then could Niall Moyna’s DCU relax after both sides seemed to have won - and lost - the game on at least three occasions.
The Dublin college looked to be home when they led by two points with four minutes of normal time remaining but an Alan O’Donovan goal for Billy Morgan’s side put the hosts one to the good.
There was time for more drama as goalkeeper Tadhg Lowe pointed a 46m free to bring the sides level and force extra-time.
The first period of extra-time saw DCU forge ahead again with Lowe, Steven O’Brien and Eoin O’Connor finding their range. Conor Dorman replied for UCC but the visitors took a two point lead in at the break between halves.
The second period saw an explosive start. David Culhane won the throw up and raced through the heart of the DCU defence to goal and hand Morgan’s side the initiative.
DCU retained their composure to find two scores to UCC’s single point to see the game level. Then, with two minutes left on the clock and the championship hanging in the balance, Conor McGraynor snaffled possession and kept his head to put the Dublin side in the lead.
UCC were afforded one more chance but Connolly’s effort went wide and DCU were finally declared champions.
All that drama came after a pedestrian opening 50 minutes. The sides were tied at 0-5 each at half time with UCC looking better placed having played against the wind.
However, a Donal Wrynn goal midway through the second half looked to have given DCU the necessary momentum before O’Donovan struck for Cork and Lowe responded with his nerveless free to send the game into extra time.
From there, the drama unfolded and DCU were, eventually, crowned Sigerson champions for the third time in six seasons.
Scorers: DCU: Donal Wrynn 1-1, Conor McHugh (0-1f), Tadhg Lowe (0-2f), Enda Smith, Eoin O'Connor 0-2 each, Steven O'Brien, Conor Boyle, Conor Daly, Conor McGraynor, Donie Smith 0-1 each.
UCC: Alan O'Donovan 1-1, David Culhane 1-0, Conor Cox 0-3 (0-1f), Conor Dorman, Thomas Clancy, Shaun Keane, Luke Connolly (0-1 '45), Gary O'Sullivan, Kevin Davis 0-1 each.
DCU: T Lowe; J Smith, C Boyle, C Daly; C Moynagh, D Ward , C Begley; E O’Connor, S O’Brien; D O’Connor, C Meredith, D Wrynn; E Smith, C McGraynor, C McHugh SUBS: M Quinn for Ward, D Smith for McHugh (both ht), B Donnelly for Meredith (53), S McCoy for E Smith (58), E Smith for O'Connor (ET), C Meredith for Carey (BC, 63 mins), N Murphy for E O’Connor (69), T Lahiffe for E Smith (75).