Saturday 23 February 2019

Sigerson Cup round-up: IT Tralee blitz IT Sligo as NUIG edge Queen's Univeristy by the minimum

23 January 2019; Nathan Mullen, left, and Owen Gallagher of NUI Galway celebrate following the Electric Ireland Sigerson Cup Round 2 match between Queens University Belfast and NUI Galway at The Dub in Belfast, Co Antrim. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile
23 January 2019; Nathan Mullen, left, and Owen Gallagher of NUI Galway celebrate following the Electric Ireland Sigerson Cup Round 2 match between Queens University Belfast and NUI Galway at The Dub in Belfast, Co Antrim. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

It was a busy day in the Sigerson Cup, with IT Tralee, NUIG, DIT and IT Carlow all recording victories.

IT Tralee 6-20 IT Sligo 1-9

IT Tralee sent out a warning that even without their top gun David Clifford they are a force to be reckoned with in this year’s Sigerson Cup when they hammered IT Sligo at John Mitchels Grounds in Tralee.

Tralee, who lost out narrowly to Ulster University on Sunday, were given a boost beforehand when midfielder Greg Horan had a red card from Sunday rescinded and they played with an intensity that mesmerised Sligo.

Hat-trick hero Conor Keane struck for a goal from the throw-in. Horan and Liam Kearney were lording matters at midfield as Keane hit a second Tralee goal in the fifth minute. Mark O’Shea helped set up James Duggan for a third goal as Tralee raced 3-5 to 0-3 in front by the end of the opening quarter. Donegal’s Jamie Brennan got Sligo’s only scores of the half.

Tralee pressed home their advantage in the second quarter with Kerry squad players Gavin Crowley and Michael Potts excelling. They added 2-7 without reply in that spell with Jack Savage converting a penalty. Then Keane completed his treble in the 27th minute as Tralee led by 5-12 to 0-3 at the interval.

DIT 4-14 Athlone IT 2-8

DIT booked their place in the Sigerson Cup third round with a comprehensive win over Athlone IT at Grangegorman.

Despite losing attacker Luke Loughlin to a straight red-card in the early moments of the second half, Brian Flanagan’s side progressed to a tantalising showdown against defending champions UCD.

Following a flurry of unanswered points, DIT midfielder Seán Flanagan registered the opening goal of the contest on 12 minutes.

Offaly’s Gio Russo converted a penalty to breathe much-needed life into the Athlone challenge, but Oisín Lynch reinforced DIT’s authority with a clinical strike past Cormac Haslam. A superb Gavin Horan goal ensured the visitors were just five points in arrears (2-7 to 2-2) at the break, however, and Loughlin’s 31st-minute red card offered them a lifeline on the resumption. Yet, DIT recorded 2-5 on the bounce to make light of their numerical deficiency. A Brian Howard pass released Conlon for a 38th-minute goal and the excellent Lynch grabbed his second late on.

IT Carlow 0-18 Cork IT 0-12

A  clinical exhibition of point-taking from IT Carlow full forward Michael Hurley, who struck a total of 0-12, half of his tally coming from open play, undermined the challenge of Cork IT as Pat Critchley’s side emerged worthy six-point victors of this fast-flowing Sigerson Cup second round tie at the IT Carlow grounds.

The sides were level four times over the opening 20 minutes but, with the sides tied at 0-6 apiece, three unanswered points from the boot of Castlehaven clubman Hurley put the home team in front.

It took Cork only five second half minutes to wipe out the arrears with points from play by Seán Walsh, Daniel Dineen and James Crean.

But that was as good as it got for the visitors as a close-range Hurley free quickly had Carlow back in front and from there to the end they were the superior force, with 51st minute substitute Diarmuid Whelan leaving his impact on proceedings with three well-taken points, all from play.

To add to CIT's woes, midfielder Paul Walsh received a straight red card just before the final whistle sounded.

This was Cork’s second defeat, having lost heavily to UCD, while Carlow had gone down 1-16 to 0-14 to DCU in their opening encounter.

NUIG 1-8 Queen's University 1-7

Galway midfielder Peter Cooke hit four second-half points to steer NUIG through to the third round of the Sigerson Cup.

The Moycullen man’s quality came to the fore in wet conditions in Belfast, to inflict a second one-point loss on Queen’s University in the space of three days.

This time it was fatal, with the Belfast side exiting the competition after this back-door qualifier while NUIG will go on to play Garda College next Wednesday for a place in the quarter-finals.

NUIG led by just 1-3 to 0-5 at the break at the Dub, with Cein Darcy’s 17th minute goal after his powerful run through the middle looking like a big score, but Queen’s had the better of things either side of the break.

A goal by their captain Calum O’Neill five minutes into the second half, blasting James McMahon’s pass high into the net at the back post, put Queen’s ahead for the first time.

But NUIG responded brilliantly to the setback, scoring five unanswered points to take control again, with Cooke instrumental in it all with two superb points from play followed by two frees.

Kieran Molloy scored the best point of the game with a slice off the outside of his right boot from a tricky angle to extend their lead to 1-8 to 1-5 with eight minutes to go.

Conor Martin kept Queen’s in touch with two late frees but NUIG’s defence held out.

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