14-man NUIG advance to Sigerson Cup semi-finals
Electric Ireland Sigerson Cup Quarter-Final
NUIG 1-9 UCC 0-7
By Denis Hurley at The Mardyke
Despite playing much of the second half with 14 men, NUIG advanced to the Electric Ireland HC Sigerson Cup semi-finals with victory over UCC at the Mardyke on Wednesday afternoon.
The visitors never trailed in this tie, moving three points ahead in the opening ten minutes and registering a total of 1-4 before UCC got off the mark in the 26th minute. Even then, it wasn’t a signal for the hosts to eat into the deficit as they never came closer than four points to their visitors.
The home side did have some hope in injury time when Micheál McSweeney was fouled by NUIG goalkeeper Tadgh O’Malley for a penalty, but O’Malley’s replacement Maghnus Breathnach had an immediate impact as he saved Killian Spillane’s penalty.
In the next play, NUIG launched a counter-attack which ended with Céin D’Arcy scoring his second point to ensure their place in the last four.
It was an excellent all-round performance from NUIG, who gave notice of their intentions in the first minute as Damien Comer drew a save from Eoghan O’Brien.
Enda Tierney, Brian Donovan and D’Arcy all had points as they settled well, Peter Cook and D’Arcy on top in midfield. Their hopes were increased when Donovan added a goal on 17 minutes when Adam Gallagher set him up.
A super Owen Gallagher score put them seven in front, though two Stephen Sherlock points did open the UCC account before half-time.
Sherlock had two more on the resumption, sandwiching a score by Adam Gallagher, and when Aaron O’Connor was dismissed for an off-the-ball incident, it made the visitors’ task harder.
Their defending was dogged though, with full-back Seán Mulkerrin excellent and wing-back Kieran Molloy indefatigable. After Killian Spillane pointed for UCC to leave it 1-6 to 0-5 on 39, it was Molloy who extended the NUIG lead and then set up Tierney for his third.
Kevin Crowley pulled one back with an excellent UCC point and Sherlock’s fifth, a free, left four in it as normal time expired.
It was Sherlock who forced the turnover which gave McSweeney a chance, O’Malley’s foul resulting in a penalty. Spillane had rescued UCC from the spot against Garda College the previous week but this time Breathnach repelled his effort and D’Arcy secured the win.
Scorers for NUIG: Brian Donovan 1-1, Enda Tierney 0-3, Céin D’Arcy 0-2, Kieran Molloy, Adam Gallagher (free), Owen Gallagher 0-1 each.
Scorers for UCC: Stephen Sherlock 0-5 (0-3 frees), Kevin Crowley, Killian Spillane 0-1 each.
NUIG (Galway clubs unless stated): Tadgh O’Malley (Leitir Mór); Aaron O’Connor (Duagh, Kerry), Seán Mulkerrin (Oileán Árainn), Stephen Brennan (Claremorris, Mayo); Kieran Molloy (Corofin), Ruairí Greene (Killannin), Gerard O’Kelly Lynch (St Mary’s, Sligo); Céin D’Arcy (Caherlistrane), Peter Cooke (Maigh Cuilinn); Adam Gallagher (Mayo Gaels, Mayo), Owen Gallagher (St Joseph’s, Glenavy, Antrim), Enda Tierney (Oughterard); Brian Donovan (Monaleen, Limerick), Damien Comer (Annaghdown), Seán Kelly (Maigh Cuilinn).
Subs: Eoin Finnerty (Mountbellew) for Owen Gallagher (47), Ronan O’Toole (St Loman’s, Westmeath) for Donovan (47), Colm Kelly (Ballyshannon, Donegal) for O’Kelly Lymch (52), Maghnus Breathnach (Oughterard) for O’Malley (60, black card).
UCC (Kerry unless stated): Eoghan O’Brien (Churchill); Fionnán Clifford (Waterville), Jason Foley (Ballydonoghue), Micheál McSweeney (Newcestown, Cork); Brian Ó Beaglaioch (An Ghaeltacht), Kevin Crowley (Millstreet, Cork), Cian Kiely (Ballincolig, Cork); Jack Kennedy (Clonmel Commercials, Tipperary), Andrew Barry (Na Gaeil); Ronan Buckley (Listry), Adrian Spillane (Templenoe), Kevin Flahive (Douglas, Cork); Cian Dorgan (Ballincollig, Cork), Killian Spillane (Templenoe), Stephen Sherlock (St Finbarr’s, Cork).
Subs: Daniel O’Brien (Glenflesk) for Clifford (20), Pádraig Lucey (Legion) for Buckley (27), Graham O’Sullivan (Dromid Pearses) for Flahive (49), Cathal Bambury (Dingle) for Kiely (52).
Referee: John Hickey (Carlow)