It has been a mixed few weeks for UCC GAA. Some stellar results, such as the senior hurling team qualifying for the 2017 Fitzgibbon Cup finals weekend, but there has also been much disappointment for the club, with the senior camogie team being beaten in the Ashbourne Cup final, and the senior footballers losing by a point to St. Mary’s in the Sigerson Cup.
Fitzgibbon Cup: UCC senior hurling booked their place at the 2017 Fitzgibbon Cup weekend following a convincing 1-18 to 0-16 point victory over DCU at the Mardyke last month.
In what was a barren game, both sides were level for much of the game, but a late UCC surge thanks to Jamie Barron, Mark O’Brien, Seamus Kennedy and Michael O’Halloran helped UCC to run out rampant winners on a blustery afternoon on Leeside.
Patrick Curran, fresh from scoring 1-1 against Kilkenny the weekend beforehand, was the main nemesis to UCC throughout the game, with the Waterford half-forward running away with seven points (six from frees) over the game. A second half slip caused the target man to miss a crucial point midway through the second half, which turned the game in UCC’s favour and light the fire in the John Grainger’s men. Ultimately, however, this brave quarterfinals performance amounted to nought for the Leesiders, as they were narrowly defeated by IT Carlow 2-20 to 1-20 after extra time in the semifinal.
UCC: J Barry; S Roche, C Spillane, I Kenny; S Kennedy, C Gleeson, R Cahalane; J Barron, C O’Leary; G O’Brien, T Devine, M O’Brien; A Cadogan, J O’Flynn, A Spillane.
Subs: M Breen for O’Flynn (half-time), M O’Connor for Cahalane (48), M O’Halloran for G O’Brien (48), E Gunning for Kenny (56, injured).
DCU: R Gillen; S McCaw, C Delaney, E O’Donnell; T French, P Foley, A Maddock; P O’Dea, G Bailey; L Fahey, R McBride, J Byrne; AJ Murphy, P Curran, E Conroy.
Subs: K Doyle for McCaw (16, injured), E McHugh for French (41), H O’Connor for Bailey (46), P Kelly for Doyle (59).
Ashbourne Cup: There was heartbreak for UCC senior Camogie, as UL pipped the Leesiders to the 2017 Ashbourne Cup by 2-08 to 1-07 at Abbotstown last month.
In a repeat of last year’s final, which saw UL capture the cup thanks to an added-time Laura McMahon goal. UCC were left behind by four points in a gripping final which showed some of camogie’s brightest young prospects.
Despite a dominating opening spell by UL, Lauren Callanan’s goal gave UCC hope heading into the second half, but her effort was ultimately in vain to bridge the four point gap.
Katrina Mackey fought back with a brace from the frees, but UL’s dominance was too much for the UCC side, who saw their quest for their first Ashbourne Cup since 2013 fade in the final moments, as UL ran out 2-08 to 1-07 in the capital.
UL: R Breen, C Walsh, L McMahon, C Hehir, E Kelly, C Maher, N Ryan, E Fryday (1-00), P Diggin (0-03), A Keane, N Hanniffy, G O’Brien, C Lyons (1-00), B Carton (0-03), R Howard (0-01)
UCC: C O’Leary, R Phelan, L Coppinger, M Cahalane, Y Murphy, P Mackey, J Hosford, H Looney (0-01), K O’Keeffe, A Malone (0-01), O Cronin, L Callanan (1-00), A O’Connor, N McCarthy, K Mackey (0-05)
REFEREE: L Downey (Kilkenny)
Sigerson Cup: There was major calls of an upset at the Connaught Centre of Excellence, as UCC lost out to St.Mary’s Belfast for a place in the Sigerson Final on a score line of 2-7 to 2-6.
UCC started well, with Billy Morgan and his side charging into an early lead thanks to Ian Maguire and Cathal Bambury. Kevin McGeary edged St Mary’s back into the game, with Oisín O’Neill adding his name to the scoresheet as well as Fitzpatrick finding the back of the net to help close the gap for the Belfast side.
There was room for optimism for UCC, as Killian Spillane kicked his side back into the game from two excellent frees. Brian O’Driscoll brought the game back within a point into stoppage time, but time was running out for Billy Morgan and his team. Discipline fell in the final few moments, with Adrian Spillane seeing red after his black card in the 58th minute – as well as fellow team mate Alan O’Donovan.
Full time score was 2-7 to 2-6 to St. Mary’s Belfast, a major upset for the Country Antrim college, who had never won a title before. UCC are now left with only the Cork Senior Football Championship to play for this season.
ST MARY’S: M Reid; K Mallon, A McKay, R Mooney; C Byrne, C Meyler, K McGeary, B Óg McGilligan, O O’Neill; C Corrigan, C McCann, S McConville; K McKernan, C McShane, M Fitzpatrick.
Subs: C Quinn for McCann (31 mins, bc), C Mac Iomhar for McGeary (47 mins, bc), D Kavanagh for McGilligan (49 mins), A Nugent for McConville (61 mins).
UCC: M Martin; C Begley, F Clifford, J Foley; K Crowley, S Cronin, T O’Sullivan; I Maguire, R O’Toole; B O’Driscoll, A Spillane, J Kennedy; R Buckley, K Spillane, C Bambury.
Subs: K Flahive for Begley (h-t), A O’Donovan for O’Toole (41 mins), S Sherlock for Buckley (45 mins).
Referee: James Molloy (Galway).