Second-half power surge lights way for holders UCC
UCC 2-12 IT Carlow 0-8
Holders UCC will contest today's independent.ie Sigerson Cup final as they produced a good second half to see off IT Carlow at the Mardyke yesterday.
The hosts are aiming for a third title in six campaigns but they had to overturn a 0-6 to 0-5 half-time deficit here, with manager Billy Morgan admitted that he was worried at half-time.
"I was," he said, "we had not played well.
"They played very defensively and we just could not break them down. They were catching us on the break and five of their six points came from frees.
There were two where we mouthed back and the referee brought them in. We just didn't play well and I have to admit I was worried."
The game turned in the five minutes after the restart as an unanswered 1-2 from UCC turned the game irrevocably in their favour.
Points from David Harrington and Conor Cox - who finished with eight - were followed a goal by Luke Connolly as he won the break from Harrington's delivery and the entire complexion of the game had changed.
Brendan Murphy did get a point to bring Carlow back to within a goal on 38 but they would only score once more as UCC exerted their strength.
Cox continued to impress as he added three more points and centre-back David Culhane and Shaun Keane also got in on the action. The second goal arrived in the 51st minute, Thomas Hickey at the end of a great team move. It was UCC's final score but they had done enough.
In the first half, they struggled as a 0-3 to 0-1 lead became a 0-5 to 0-3 deficit, with Barry McHugh and Liam Boland impressive for Carlow, while goalkeeper Shane Murphy nailed a long-range free.
UCC managed without Cork midfielder Ian Maguire and Kerry attacker Paul Geaney, but Morgan only expects to have one of those available today.
"I'd say it is very unlikely you will see Ian Maguire," he said. "Paul Geaney hopefully.
"David Harrington took a few knocks also, but hopefully he will be okay as well."
Scorers - UCC: C Cox 0-8 (4fs), L Connolly, T Hickey 1-0 each, D Harrington 0-2, D Culhane, S Keane 0-1 each. IT Carlow: B McHugh 0-2 (1f, 1 '45), L Boland 0-2 (1f), S Murphy (f), K Ryan, A Forde, B Murphy 0-1 each.
UCC - M Martin; F McNamara, J McGuire, P O'Connor; C Dorman, D Culhane, T Clancy; S Kiely, G O'Sullivan; S Keane, L Connolly, B O'Driscoll; T Hickey, D Harrington, C Cox. Subs: A O'Donovan for Dorman (52), C Horgan for Harrington (inj), R Murphy for O'Sullivan, A Spillane for Keane, K Davis for Connolly, É Ó Conchúir for Kiely (all 57).
IT Carlow - S Murphy; T O'Connell, C Lawlor, D Smyth; E Lynch, T Featherston, E Walsh; W Young, M Sherry; K Ryan, A Dever, A Forde; L Boland, B Murphy, B McHugh. Subs: M Mangan for Dever (h-t), C Conroy for McHugh (44), T Shiel for Boland (49), K Mulvany for Murphy (53).
Ref - D O'Mahoney (Tipperary)