Tuesday 26 March 2019

UCC on a roll but Morgan says St Mary's are the 'best unit around'

Electric Ireland Sigerson cup final

Billy Morgan. Photo: Matt Browne/Sportsfile
Billy Morgan. Photo: Matt Browne/Sportsfile
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

Billy Morgan heads into familiar territory as he leads his UCC side into action against Belfast outfit St Mary's in tonight's Sigerson Cup final in Portlaoise's O'Moore Park.

The Cork legend is in charge of UCC for the tenth season in a row, during which time he has won a pair of Sigerson crowns in 2011 and 2014, but his association with the competition stretches way back to the 1960s when he won two titles with the Cork university as a player.

So while his side go into tonight's clash as firm favourites against 'The Ranch', Morgan has been around long enough to know that this is a competition that can throw up just about any result.

However, there is no doubt that UCC have been the competition's form team so far. Their three wins over Athlone IT, Carlow IT and NUI Galway has seen them run up tallies of 7-26, 4-21 and 4-9 to date with Kerry's Seán O'Shea in blistering form.

Morgan can also call on the likes of Kingdom pair Brian ó Beaglaoích and Killian Spillane along with Clare's Eimhin Courtney and Cork's Kevin Flahive.

Difficult "Obviously there were players there but every year you are going to have good players, always down the years we have had players but so have other colleges. It is a very difficult competition to win," Morgan said of UCC's 2018/'19 vintage.

However, they are without Meath's James McEntee, who was forced off in the semi-final win over NUI Galway, and Liam O'Donovan, who damaged his knee while on duty with the Rebel footballers.

After winning their 2017 semi-final, St Mary's, then under the guidance of Paddy Tally, went on to win the competition outright. And after beating a UCD team that included Dublin star Con O'Callaghan, Monaghan's Conor McCarthy, Mayo's Stephen Coen and Tyrone's Conor Meyler in their semi-final, Morgan expects the game to go down to the wire.

"There's no big secret about them; as a unit they are probably the best team around, they have a couple of very solid players obviously with Jarlath Burns and (Liam) Devlin beside him.

"They beat a very, very good UCD team, a much-fancied UCD team, so they will be very difficult to beat," he said.

Verdict: UCC

UCC v St Mary's, O'Moore Park, 7.30 Live, TG4 YouTube

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