Friday 18 October 2019

O'Shea is a class apart as UCC clinch Sigerson glory

Sigerson Cup final: UCC 0-16 St Mary's 1-9

UCC captain Cian Kiely lifts the Sigerson Cup aloft after his side’s victory over St Mary’s, Belfast. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
UCC captain Cian Kiely lifts the Sigerson Cup aloft after his side’s victory over St Mary’s, Belfast. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

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Kerry star Sean O'Shea showed once again why he is one of the most revered talents in the game as he kicked seven points, two from play, to inspire UCC to a 22nd Sigerson Cup crown in O'Moore Park, Portlaoise.

St Mary's are one of the smallest colleges competing at Sigerson level and a 44th-minute red card proved detrimental for the Ulster side, as UCC thrived when playing with the extra man.

The Belfast college opened the scoring courtesy of Shane McGuigan.

Stephen McConville then doubled his side's advantage with a short-range free, before Padraig Clifford opened his side's account.

St Mary's used Cathair McKinney as a sweeper in an attempt to frustrate the UCC attack, but another free from O'Shea soon levelled matters.

Points from Graham O'Sullivan and Padraig Lucey gave the Cork college a two-point lead, but it was the Ulster side who registered the game's opening goal courtesy of Moy's Ryan Coleman.

UCC's Seán O'Shea. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
UCC's Seán O'Shea. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Coleman hit a speculative ball into the forward line which beat goalkeeper Mark White and made its way into the net.

O'Shea responded with a free for UCC to level it again before McConville edged his side back in front.

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Another outstanding effort from O'Shea erased the latest deficit before corner-back Graham O'Sullivan gave his side the lead with an excellent effort.

Two further scores from O'Shea then gave UCC a 0-9 to 1-3 lead at the interval.

Padraig Lucey of UCC in action against Liam Rafferty of St Mary's. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Padraig Lucey of UCC in action against Liam Rafferty of St Mary's. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

It was O'Shea who started the second-half scoring with a short-range free which was cancelled out by a score from Mary's corner-back Miceal Rooney.

McGuigan and Cian Kiely then traded scores before an excellent effort from Ryan McCusker reduced the deficit to two.

The gap had been down to one point before Mary's had Aaron Boyle was sent off heading into the final quarter.

An excellent effort from McGuigan soon brought his side level though, before it was cancelled out by another fabulous strike from O'Shea.

UCC manager Billy Morgan celebrates after the match. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
UCC manager Billy Morgan celebrates after the match. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Three successive points increased UCC's lead to four and at that stage momentum was with the Cork college, and they never let up from there.

Scorers - UCC: S O'Shea 0-7 (5f); G O'Sullivan and P Clifford 0-2 each; P Lucey, J Naughton, G Murphy, C O'Hainifin and C Kiely 0-1 each. St Mary's: S McGuigan 0-4 (1f); R Coleman 1-0; S McConville 0-3 (3f); M Rooney and R McCusker 0-1 each.

UCC - M White; M Flood, K Flahive, G O'Sullivan; D O'Brien, B Begley, C Kiely; P Lucey, J Kennedy; P Clifford, S O'Shea, C Horgan; C Geaney, K Spillane, E Courtney. Subs: D Shaw for Horgan (h-t), J Naughton for Courtney (52), E Finnerty for Spillane (52), G Murphy for Geaney, C O'Hainifin for O'Brien (60).

St Mary's - M Reid; L Rafferty, C Dillon, M Rooney; C Byrne, R McCusker, A Duffy; J Óg Burns, L Devlin; S McConville, S McGuigan, A Boyle; N Toner, R Coleman, C McKinney. Subs: D McKinless for Byrne (53)

Ref - D Gough (Meath).

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