Electric Ireland Sigerson Cup semi-final: UCD edge out UL:
Electric Ireland Sigerson Cup semi-final
UCD 2-12 University of Limerick 1-14
By Kieran Murphy at SETU Carlow Campus
UCD are back in the Sigerson Cup final for the first time in six years when they survived a late comeback from their Limerick rivals to come through by the narrowest of margins at the SETU Carlow campus on Thursday.
It was always going to be close between two sides who wanted this so much. University of Limerick have suffered enough heart-break over the last number of years and they showed they were up for this when starting well.
Paul Keaney cancelled out an early point from UCD’s Diarmuid Moriarty who punched over when a half goal chance was on. Instead it was UL who scored the opening goal of the game on nine minutes when the UCD defence failed to take control of a dropping ball and Keaney rifled home from close range.
The Limerick side threatened to take control and with defender, Darragh Cashman, driving forward to raise a white flag they went five points clear on 17 minutes.
Incredibly they failed to drive on. UCD responded and were 0-8 to 1-4 ahead at the break with Daire Cregg, Moriarty, Aaron Lynch and Davy Garland all pointing
The Dubliners struck for a goal immediately after the interval when Jonathan Lynam was at the end of a passing movement. Moriarty followed up with a point and now UL had to find something if they were to make a game of it.
Ciaran Downes led the revival scoring two points while Frank Irwin was also proving a handful for the UCD defence. Gradually, UL seemed to be reeling in UCD and with ten minutes left a Paul Walsh free left the minimum between the two sides once again.
UCD had threatened a number of times on the break as UL piled on the pressure. They were unable to make it tell but, for once, with ten minutes left to go, they did wriggle free as they attacked down the left. This time, Daire Cregg, delivered a telling pass in front of goal and Davy Garland punched home.
That had the potential to break the challenge of most sides but UL didn’t let their heads drop. Throwing caution to the wind they threw everything they had into rescuing the game. Goalkeeper, Conor Flaherty, landed a point and was unlucky not to have a second later in the game.
Downes, Brian McNamara and Irwin (free) all pointed in the closing minutes for UL. UCD hit them on the break but could never fully pull the trigger. Cregg did land a vital point for the Dubliners. With time almost up, UL had appeals for a foot-block foul and a penalty which was turned down by referee, Brendan Cawley, who was right up with the action.
In the end, two attempts for equalisers drifted just wide on each side of the post and UL hopes of a first ever Sigerson Cup died in the cold Carlow night air.
Scorers for UCD: Davy Garland 1-3 (2fs), Diarmuid Moriarty 0-4, Daire Cregg 0-3 (1f), Jonathan Lynam 1-0, Aaron Lynch 0-2 (1 mark).
Scorers for UL: Paul Keaney 1-1 (1f), Ciaran Downes 0-4 (1f), Frank Irwin 0-3 (2fs), Paul Walsh 0-2 (fs), Brian McNamara, Conor Flaherty, Darragh Cashman, Jack McCabe 0-1 each
UCD: Killian Roche; Liam Smith, Rory Brickenden, Daragh McElearney; Ryan O’Toole, Sam Callinan, Sean Coffey; Peter Duffy, Jonathan Lynam; Donncha Gilmore, Daire Cregg, Diarmuid Moriarty; Aaron Lynch, Ben O’Carroll, Davy Garland. Subs: Callum Bolton for Moriarty (34), Liam Costello for Lynch (50).
University of Limerick: Conor Flaherty; Colm Moriarty, Mark Dempsey, Caelim Keogh; Darragh Cashman, Cian Glennon, Daniel Walsh; Cathal Ryan, Brian McNamara; Frank Irwin, Paul Keaney, Sean McDonnell; Paul Walsh, Ciaran Downes, Jack McCabe. Subs: Fenton Kelly for Glennon (h/t), Jack Fallon for McDonnell (h/t), Darragh Heneghan for Keaney (33), Gearoid Hassett for McCabe (40), Cian McHale for Walsh (50).
Referee: Brendan Cawley (Kildare).