Electric Ireland Sigerson Cup: UL back into the final

Electric Ireland Sigerson Cup Semi-Final

University of Limerick 3-12 DCU Dochas Éireann 0-12

By Kevin Egan at Netwatch Cullen Park

UL marched back into the final of the Sigerson Cup for the second consecutive year after they followed up last week’s win over reigning champions University of Galway with a clinical display against DCU tonight, where their superior goalscoring was the difference between two sides in an otherwise fast-paced and evenly-matched contest.

An opportunist strike from Ciarán Downes in the first half was followed up in the second half with a close range effort from his fellow Clare man Aaron Griffin, and then the contest was settled definitively when Downes set up Eoghan McLaughlin for the third green flag in the closing minutes.

The two sides hit the ground running with some fantastic attacking play in the opening quarter in this game, with Keelin McGann the star of the show as he struck two excellent scores from wide positions. Four times DCU took the lead and four times UL replied to level the game in that period, but the contest changed completely when Ciarán Downes pounced on an underhit sideline ball to get there before goalkeeper David O’Hanlon, and after steadying himself up, the Clare county star measured a 30 metre shot that bounced perfectly on the edge of the square before nestling into the DCU net.

Downes added a skyscraper of a point as UL built up a 1-7 to 0-4 interval lead, but it looked like DCU were well on the way to a comeback as the introduction of the Donegal duo of Johnny McGroddy and Oisín Gallen livened up their attack. Gallen was in sublime form, racking up five second half points, but while they cut the gap back to three points, a breakaway move midway through the half ended up with Aaron Griffin finding the net from a tight angle to double the margin, giving UL a much-needed reprieve at the time when DCU were very much the dominant side.

Again DCU rallied and McGann’s third point of the night narrowed the gap to three points, 2-8 to 0-11, but UL finished strongly and counter-attacked very effectively, wrapping up the game when Downes cut through and laid off to Eoghan McLaughlin, with the Mayo man blasting the ball to the top corner to confirm the win.

Scorers for UL: Ciaran Downes 1-3, Aaron Griffin 1-1, Eoghan McLaughlin 1-0, Paul Walsh 0-3 (0-1f), Paul Keaney 0-2f, John Hayes 0-1, Daniel Walsh 0-1, Mark Lenehan 0-1f.

Scorers for DCU: Oisín Gallen 0-5 (0-1f), Keelin McGann 0-3, Lorcan O’Dell 0-2, Páraic Hughes 0-1, Johnny McGroddy 0-1.

UL: Conor Flaherty; Colm Moriarty, Jack Glynn, Jack Coyne; Darragh Cashman, Jack O’Brien, Daniel Walsh; Eoghan McLaughlin, Paul Keaney; Ciarán Downes, Ikem Ugweuru, Mark Lenehan; John Hayes, Emmet McMahon, Aaron Griffin.

SUBS: Sean McDonnell for Hayes (38), Brian McNamara for Ugweuru (42), Frank Irwin for Keaney (49), Paul Walsh for McMahon (52), Cian Glennon for Lenehan (56).

DCU: David O’Hanlon; Tomás Crean, Páraic Hughes, Jamie Grant; Alex Beirne, Seán Fitzgerald, PJ Masterson; Bill Carroll, Kevin Quinn; Shane O’Donnell, Lorcan O’Dell, Keelin McGann; Jack Bryant, Conor Corbett, Seán Jones.

SUBS: Oisín Gallen for Bryant (28), Johnny McGroddy for Jones (28), Mark Cully for Masterson (half-time), David Lacey for McGann (59), Ross Ó Mearlaigh for Grant (60).

Referee: Brendan Cawley (Kildare)