UCC 2-20 Na Piarsaigh 3-11
UCC have reached the Semi-Finals of this year’s Co-Op Superstores Cork Premier Senior Hurling Championship with a hard-fought victory over Na Piarsaigh in Páirc Uí Rinn. Standout performances from Shane Conway, James Keating and Padraig Power helped ‘the college’ to victory and they will now face Blackrock, who overcame Douglas in Páirc Uí Chaoimh earlier on Sunday.
UCC came into the game off the back of an incredible victory over defending county champions, the all-conquering, Imokilly. There were a lot of changes to the side that started against Na Piarsaigh this evening with Killian O’Dwyer, Paddy Cadell, Andrew Casey, Shane Barrett and Padraig Power all coming in, as Eoghan Clifford, Keith O’Leary, Neil Montgomery, Brian Verling and Karl Walsh dropped out of the starting fifteen.
The College got off to a lightning start with Blarney’s Padraig Power finding the back of the net after just 15 seconds of play. The two Shane’s, Barrett and Conway, then scored two excellent individual points, putting UCC 1-2 to 0-0 up with just two minutes gone.
Na Piarsaigh needed to stop the bleed and they did so emphatically. Despite Carrigaline’s Éanna Desmond pointing for UCC, Na Piarsaigh grabbed two goals in as many minutes through Padraig Guest and Shane Forde.
It was then UCC’s turn to grab a three-pointer, with Brian Kelleher finding the net, the game’s fourth goal inside 11 minutes. It came after some great interchange play between Kerry’s Shane Conway and Iniscarra’s Owen McCarthy. The latter’s shot was saved brilliantly by Luke Donovan in the Na Piarsaigh goal, but the ball rebounded to Brian Kelleher, who made no mistake from 13 yards out. UCC were now 2-4 to 2-2 ahead.
A couple of scores from Power and Conway saw UCC extend their lead further but Na Piarsaigh capitalised on an error from Dylan Desmond in the college goal, which resulted in Padraig Guest grabbing his second goal of the day for Na Piarsaigh. Desmond made up for his error a few minutes later however as he denied Kevin Moynihan from close range with a superb save, low-down to his left-hand side. Conway continued to add to his personal tally with a point each from play and placed ball, helping his side go into a much-needed break, leading by 2-11 to 3-7.
The second half started as a more cagey affair but the intensity was as high as ever. Both teams traded points with Conway grabbing a brace. Mark Kehoe was re-introduced as a late addition to the panel, the Tipperary star no doubt a welcome sight for UCC supporters, and he quickly got off the ‘mark’, with a point of his own. Neither side could make any real headway but UCC were in front by the second period’s water break, with the scores resting at 2-16 to 3-9.
There was a lull in scoring after the stoppage to play but the drought was ended by a Shane Conway free, shortly followed by another point from Mark Kehoe. Na Piarsaigh fought hard but they could not make a dent in the deficit but finally ended a 20-minute wait for a point when Evan Sheehan scored from close range.
However, UCC were in the driving seat and finished the game well, despite the fact that many players had been in action for the clubs the day before. Conway and substitute Brian Verling extended the college’s lead late on, sending UCC to a 2-20 to 3-11 final result victory.
A superb performance from UCC now sets them up with a mouth-watering tie against Blackrock in a few weeks’ time. Congratulations to all involved.
UCC Scorers: Conway 0-9 (6F, 1 65’) Power 1-4, Kehoe 0-2, Kelleher 1-0, Verling, Keating, Barrett, Coleman and Desmond 0-1 each
UCC Team: UCC Team: Dylan Desmond (Eire Óg); Killian O’Dwyer (Killenaule), David Lowney (Clonakilty), David Griffin (Carrigaline); Mark Coleman (Blarney), Paddy O’Loughlin (Kilmallock), James Keating (Kildorrey); Éanna Desmond (Carrigaline), Paddy Cadell (); Andrew Casey (Ballyduff Upper), Shane Conway (Lixnaw), Shane Barrett (Blarney); Brian Kelleher (Carrigaline), Padraig Power (Blarney) and Owen McCarthy (Inniscarra).
UCC Subs: Mark Kehoe for Kelleher (HT). Denis McBarron for Barrett (47), Brian Verling for McCarthy (56). Karl Walsh for Desmond (58) and Keith O’Leary for Walsh (64).