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UCD prevail in marathon tie

UCD 0-18 Ulster University 1-13 (AET)

UCD’s Con O’Callaghan stumbles under pressure from Michael McKernan of Ulster University during last night’s extended Sigerson Cup semi-final. Photo: OLIVER MCVEIGH/SPORTSFILE
UCD’s Con O’Callaghan stumbles under pressure from Michael McKernan of Ulster University during last night’s extended Sigerson Cup semi-final. Photo: OLIVER MCVEIGH/SPORTSFILE

Independent.ie Sportsdesk

It took 100 minutes to separate two shattered teams, and in the end scores by Brian O'Seanachain and Con O'Callaghan in the second period of double extra-time booked UCD's place in the Sigerson Cup final for the third year in-a-row.

Monaghan's Conor McCarthy lit up the final quarter of normal time with four points in the last 15 minutes to put UCD 0-12 to 0-10 ahead going into injury-time.

However, Tyrone referee Sean Hurson played a very generous six minutes of stoppage-time and Lee Brennan's free, followed by Gareth McKinless' 66th-minute point, forced extra-time when it finished 0-12 each.

Tyrone's Mark Bradley scored the only goal of the game two minutes into extra-time, with a close-range finish from Lee Brennan's superb pass.

However, UCD took over with Evan O'Carroll deadly from placed balls and McCarthy continuing his scoring form, and they nudged in front in the second half of extra-time.

For the second time, the Jordanstown outfit snatched a late point to force an extension in the game, Rory Brennan's 81st-minute score levelling matters at 1-13 to 0-16 and teeing up a further five minutes each side.

UCD's Jack Barry, right, holds onto the ball under pressure from Ronan McName. Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile
UCD's Jack Barry, right, holds onto the ball under pressure from Ronan McName. Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile

O'Seanachain's 86th-minute point, followed by O'Callaghan's simple tap-over free, finally proved decisive.

The first half was a 30-minute yawn, UU reluctant to commit bodies to the attack and when they did come out with the ball, they frequently got turned over.

Tipperary's Liam Casey got the opening score for UCD in the third minute with a right-footed point which Tyrone's Frank Burns cancelled out with a fine long-range effort three minutes later.

UCD hit four first-half wides and Laois' Evan O'Carroll dropped a simple free short but made amends with a '45' soon afterwards.

Ulster University's Lee Brennan celebrates after scoring. Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile
Ulster University's Lee Brennan celebrates after scoring. Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile

Derry's Terence O'Brien, not renowned for his dead-ball striking, converted a fine effort off the ground to leave it 0-3 each at half-time.

The intensity and pace of the game was upped significantly after the break.

UU took the lead for the first time two minutes into the second period through full-back Michael McKernan.

UU then streaked clear at 0-8 to 0-5 to put the first real daylight between the teams with points from Rory Brennan, Niall Madine and Lee Brennan's '45'.

Liam Casey's second point and O'Carroll's free kept UCD in touch and they soon levelled matters with three frees in as many minutes from O'Carroll, O'Callaghan and McCarthy.

UCD's Barry O’Sullivan, centre, and Ulster University's Frank Burns and Terence O'Brien, compete for a loose ball. Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile
UCD's Barry O’Sullivan, centre, and Ulster University's Frank Burns and Terence O'Brien, compete for a loose ball. Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile

After a quiet opening half, McCarthy nailed 0-4, two from play, in the last quarter to give UCD the initiative again.

They led 0-12 to 0-10 going into extra-time through sub Liam Silke's point but in a very generous six minutes of injury-time, Lee Brennan and Gareth McKinless sealed extra-time, where UCD finally ended their challenge to book a final date against NUIG on Saturday at Santry Avenue.

Scorers - UCD: C McCarthy 0-6 (3f), E O'Carroll 0-5 (3f, 2 '45'), L Casey 0-2, C O'Callaghan 0-2 (2f), E Lowry, 0-1 (f), L Silke, B O'Seanachain 0-1 each UU: L Brennan 0-3 (1 '45', 1f), M Bradley 1-0, F Burns, R McNamee, R Brennan 0-2 each, T O'Brien (f), N Madine, M McKernan, G McKinless 0-1 each,

UCD - C Manton; L Fortune, C O'Shea, P Healy; S Coen, C Mullaly, J Feehan; B O'Sullivan, J Barry; L Casey, C McCarthy, B Byrne; C O'Callaghan, E O'Carroll, E Lowry. Subs: B O'Seanachain for Casey (40), T Hayes for Lowry (42), L Silke for Byrne (50), P O'Connor for Feehan (70), L Moran for O'Connor (77)

Jack Barry, right, and Frank Burns compete for possession in the air. Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile
Jack Barry, right, and Frank Burns compete for possession in the air. Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile

Ulster University - S Fox; M Magee, M McKernan, M McEvoy; R Brennan, R McNamee, G McKinless; T O'Brien, J Munroe; R McAnespie, M Bradley, E McHugh; L Brennan, N Madine, F Burns. Subs: D Mulgrew for Madine (55), D Gallagher for Burns (55), D Tallon for McAnespie (60), F Burns for McNamee (70), R McAnespie for McHugh (78).

Ref - S Hurson (Tyrone).

Irish Independent

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