Dylan Geaney was on the mark with a game-changing goal for UCC in the first half of tonight's Sigerson Cup semi-final at Netwatch Cullen Park.
Dylan Geaney was on the mark with a game-changing goal for UCC in the first half of tonight's Sigerson Cup semi-final at Netwatch Cullen Park.

Electric Ireland Sigerson Cup: UCC set up all-Munster final

UCC                    1-12

TU Dublin          0-13

Kevin Egan reports from Netwatch Cullen Park

A last-ditch tackle from Damien Bourke prevented UCC from coughing up a seven-point lead in Carlow tonight, as the 23-time champions just about held off a late surge from TU Dublin and narrowly scraped through to set up an All-Munster final next Wednesday night in Waterford; just the second ever such occasion, following on from the 1999 final where IT Tralee edged out Garda College.

With Cathail O’Mahony in fine form up front, and the midfield pairing of Shane Merritt and Brian Hartnett doing well in the battle for primary possession, UCC looked very sharp in the opening half, and they worked their way up to a six-point lead at half-time.

But for four first half wides and a fantastic save from Darragh Brooks to deny Dylan Geaney, they could have been out of sight. Instead, a wonderfully composed close range finish from Dylan Geaney and some well-taken points from Brian Hartnett and Killian Falvey made it 1-7 to 0-4 at the break, with only Ryan Deegan making any impression up front for TU Dublin, firing over two highlight reel points.

That lead was briefly extended to seven following a fisted point from Fionn Herlihy on the first attack after the half-time interval, one of three points from play from the Dohenys club man, but TU Dublin started to take over from there, with a nice strike from Jack Flynn on the run kicking off a run of four points in a row.

Cathail O’Mahony stemmed the tide with a race of quickfire points to briefly push the lead back out to five, 1-11 to 0-9, but DCU rallied again and two scores each from Shane Cunnane and Seán Guiden, with O’Mahony’s sixth point of the night in between, set up a tense finish.

A full-length diving block from Shane Cunnane to deny Seán O’Connor at one end kept TUD’s hopes alive, and when Guiden played in Darragh Campion some 15 metres from goal, the smash-and-grab victory was on if the Meath man could find a way past Dylan Foley with his shot.

Damien Bourke was to prove the hero for UCC however as his immaculately-timed tackle forced a turnover, and the Cork students were able to snaffle up the loose ball with the last play of the game.  

Scorers for UCC: Cathail O’Mahony 0-6 (0-2f), Dylan Geaney 1-0, Fionn Herlihy 0-3, Ruairí Murphy 0-1, Brian Hartnett 0-1, Killian Falvey 0-1.

Scorers for TUD: Séan Guiden 0-3 (0-1f), Shane Cunnane 0-3f, Ryan Deegan 0-2, Jack Flynn 0-2, Kevin Callaghan 0-1m, Darragh Campion 0-1, Robbie McAllister 0-1.

UCC: Dylan Foley; Bríain Murphy, Daniel O’Mahony, Damien Bourke; Maurice Shanley, Rúairí Murphy, Bill Curtin; Shane Merritt, Brian Hartnett; Jack Murphy, Fionn Herlihy, Killian Falvey; Dylan Geaney, Mark Cronin, Cathail O’Mahony.

Subs: Sean O’Connor for Geaney (52), Michael O’Gara for Falvey (52)

TUD: Darragh Brooks; Cian Dooner, Fintan O’Shea, Seán Ryan; Niall Carolan, Cathal Hickey, Killian McGinnis; Kevin Callaghan, Shane Cunnane; Sean Guiden, Mark Lavin, Ryan O’Dwyer; Robbie McAllister, Ryan Deegan, Darragh Campion.

Subs: Jack Flynn for O’Dwyer (25), Eoin Duffy for O’Shea (half-time), Luke Swan for Callaghan (48), Jack Lundy for Dooner (53), Fionn Murray for McAllister (60)

Referee: David Gough (Meath).