UCC advanced to the Ulster Bank Higher Education Football League Division One semi final with victory over UCD at the Mardyke last week. Despite having home advantage UCC did not have it their own way as the visitors put up a huge fight with Mark McGowan, John Heslin and Robert Kelly particularly impressive.
However, the free taking ability of Daithi Casey proved vital to his side’s victory while Adrian Greaney, Kevin O’Driscoll and Sean Kiely excelled. Casey’s free taking skills became evident early in the opening half as he put his side into a 0-3 to 0-1 lead by the 10th minute. To their credit the Dublin College responded well and thanks to well taken scores from McGowan, Joe Cocoman and Kelly they took the lead for the first time in the game by the 18th minute, 0-5 to 0-4.
Despite this period of dominance for UCD, this brought the best out of UCC. Inspired by Jamie O’Sullivan and Greaney in defence and with Johnny Buckley and Mark Collins performing admirably further up the field they began to gain a greater foothold in the game.
In the closing minutes of the half they regained the lead with a number of expertly taking points. The highlight of these came from the boot of Buckley who surged from midfield to split the posts. Cocoman had his second point of the night late in the half to reduce the lead to the minimum before Casey had another free to give his side a 0-8 to 0-6 lead at the interval.
On the resumption, both sides found scores harder to come by as neither team were willing to give much away. Shortly after the break both sides traded scores which saw UCC maintain their two point advantage by the 55th minute, 0-12 to 0-10. The pick of these scores came from UCD’s Mark McGowan who slotted over after a lung bursting run from defence.
With just five minutes remaining the game was still in the melting pot with only one score dividing the teams. With a number of refereeing decisions going against them and with the UCC defence giving little away a match winning goal that UCD looked for never came. Substitute Mike Griffin extended UCC’s lead to three before David Larkin replied for UCD with a similar score in injury time. Unfortunately for them the goal they desired never came as UCC held out for a hard earned win and continued their search for some well deserved silverware.
Scorers for UCC: D Casey 0-7 frees, S Kiely 0-2, K O’Driscoll, J Buckley, P Honohan, M Griffin 0-1 each.
UCD: R Kelly 0-5 (0-3 frees), J Cocoman, M McGowan 0-2 each, J O’Loughlin, D Larkin 0-1 each.
UCC: D Farry; L Jennings, J O’Sullivan, D O’Donovan; P Crowley, A Greaney, B Daly; J Buckley, K O’Driscoll; M Collins, S Kiely, JB Spillane; S O’Brien, D Casey, P Honohan.
Subs: M Hickey for O’Donovan, M Griffin for Honohan.
UCD: M Savage; P Kelly, C Forde, J Hayes; M McGowan, C Brady, J Fitzpatrick; J Heslin, M Coughlan; J O’Loughlin, K McGourty, J Cocoman; C Kenny, R Kelly, D St.Ledger.
Subs: M Brazil for Cocoman, D Larkin for Kenny.
Referee: C Lyons (Nemo Rangers)
Originally published in the 23/11/2010 edition of the UCC Express