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UCC through to final after dominating second half performance

Munster Club Football Semi-Final

 

UCC 5-12 Moyle Rovers 1-5

 

UCC eased through to their first Munster Club football final since 1999 with a powerful performance against Moyle Rovers in Clonmel on Sunday.

 

UCC held a mere two point advantage in first-half injury time yet only five minutes into the second half the game was over as a contest after Stephen O’Brien and Paul Geaney had struck two goals apiece to open up an unassailable 13 point lead.

 

Both sides came into this game from very different perspectives, UCC having edged a thrilling contest against Monaleen after extra time two weeks previously, while on the same day Rovers had lost the Tipperary county final to the combination side Thomas McDonaghs.

 

True to form UCC dominated Rovers in every sector, a dominance which was evident from the first whistle as UCC scored the first four points of the match. Gavin O’Grady won and pointed an early free to open the scoring, before Geaney curled over two points, followed by another O’Grady free.

 

UCC’s defence were shutting down the Rovers attack and it took Rovers 20 minutes to open their account. Sean Mellett in the UCC goal had to push Sean Carey’s miscued point attempt onto the crossbar after an awkward bounce and in the subsequent goalmouth scramble, Rovers follow-up again rattled the bar before Peter Acheson took control of the situation, calmly slotting the ball to the net. When Carey was more accurate a minute later, Rovers found themselves level.

 

UCC responded positively and only an on-the-line save from Darragh Dwyer kept Rovers level after O’Brien had rounded the keeper. Jamie O’Sullivan missed the resulting 45 however Geaney, who was dominating his marker, pointed twice to restore UCC’s lead. Brian Mulvihill pulled a point back for Rovers however just as the Tipp side seemed to be coming alive UCC landed a sucker punch in first-half injury time. Mike Griffin spotted O’Brien’s crossfield run and lofted a precise ball over the Rovers full-back line which O’Brien reached first to punch over Rovers’ keeper, Ian Browne. It was a wonderfully constructed goal and was added to by another Geaney pointed free to give UCC a five-point half-time lead, 1-7 to 1-2.

 

On the resumption, UCC came charging at Rovers and goaled three times inside the first five minutes. The first was the result of a long-ball into the full-forward line, O’Brien palmed it down to Geaney who blasted the ball into the top corner. Alan Campbell responded with a point for Rovers to momentarily lift the siege before UCC came down the field to goal again. O’Brien won the ball, popped a handpass to O’Grady, who in turn handpassed to Geaney to finish the ball to the net. Moments later it was Geaney’s turn to provide the assist as he played in O’Brien to rifle home his second goal and UCC’s fourth.

 

By this stage UCC had as many goals as Rovers had scores and O’Grady and Griffin piled on the misery for Rovers as they both pointed from acute angles. Liam Boland responded with two points for Rovers either side of an O’Brien point for UCC but by this stage the game had fallen flat with both sides emptying their benches. Indeed it was Geaney’s replacement, Gavin Ryan, who added UCC’s final goal as he fisted O’Sullivan’s free to the top of the net. A closing brace of points from O’Grady ended the scoring with UCC the 19 point victors.

 

UCC will now play Dr Crokes in the Munster final on the first Sunday in December with Johnny Buckley and Daithi Casey, who helped UCC to Cork county success, lining out on the opposite side on what promises to be an exciting occasion.

 

UCC: Sean Mellett; Martin Hickey (both Cork), Peter Crowley, Matthew Galvin (both Kerry); Tom Clancy (Cork), Niall Daly (Roscommon), Sean Kiely; Will Kennedy (both Cork), Jamie O’Sullivan (Kerry); Brian Coughlan (Cork), Mike Griffin (0-1), JB Spillane; Stephen O’Brien (2-1), Gavin O’Grady (0-5), Paul Geaney (all Kerry, 2-5). Subs: Gavin Ryan (Tipperary, 1-0) for Geaney, Shane Beston (Cork) for Spillane, David Culhane for Crowley, Adrian Greaney for Daly, Dan O’Shea (all Kerry) for Kennedy.

 

Moyle Rovers: Ian Browne; David Conway, Richard Power, Darragh Dwyer; Alan Campbell (0-1), Darren Nolan, Sean Keating; Niall Fitzgerald, Martin Dunne; John Shanahan, Peter Acheson (1-0), Daniel Lyne; Sean Carey (0-1), Philip Quirke, Brian Mulvihill (0-1). Subs: Ronan Desmond for Keating, Liam Boland (0-2) for Lyne, Liam Cronin for Conway, Aaron Kelly for Dunne, Jack Lonergan for Shanahan.