UCC 2-20 Na Piarsaigh 3-11
FAVOURITES UCC booked their place in the Co-op SuperStores Cork Premier SHC semi-final with victory over Na Piarsaigh at Páirc Uí Rinn on Sunday night, but not without a tough test from their city opponents.
Leading by 1-4 to 0-1 after eight minutes, the College fell behind as Piarsaigh struck for a pair of quick goals and the sides were level early in the second half before the victors pulled clear to win by six points.
UCC began in a blaze, with Shane Barrett’s delivery broken down by Owen McCarthy, allowing Pádraig Power to goal inside 14 seconds and points from James Keating, Shane Barrett and Shane Conway had them 1-3 to 0-0 ahead inside three minutes.
While Evan Sheehan’s opener for Na Piarsaigh was answered by UCC’s Éanna Desmond, the city side then found some momentum as a Sheehan free was followed by a ninth-minute goal from Pádraig Guest, originating from a Kevin Moynihan turnover.
Moments later, they were in front as Daire Connery’s ball allowed Shane Forde to run at the UCC defence before firing home. The lead was only fleeting, though, as College went back in front with a Brian Kelleher goal after Owen McCarthy’s shot had been saved by Luke Donovan.
By the water break, it was 2-5 to 2-3 for the Students and they reeled off three straight points, from Power and Conway (two) only to allow Piarsaigh some hope again. There appeared to be little danger when UCC centre-back Paddy O’Loughlin sent a pass back to goalkeeper Dylan Desmond but he was dispossessed by Guest, who finished smartly to the net.
Power’s third point gave UCC an instant response to make it 2-9 to 3-3 but Na Piasaigh found some momentum as Daire Connery’s 65 was followed by Evan Sheehan’s fourth point before Shane Forde stole a UCC puckout and levelled.
They almost had a fourth goal but Kevin Moynihan’s shot was brilliantly saved by Desmond. While Connery sent over the resultant 65 to put them in front, UCC had two Conway frees to ensure they held the half-time advantage, 2-11 to 3-7.
Connery tied matters again with his third point on the resumption but UCC gave themselves a cushion as a pair of Conway frees sandwiched a long-range Mark Coleman effort. Though Sheehan replied with a free, it would be Na Piarsaigh’s last score until the 59th minute and Power, Conway and sub Mark Kehoe helped UCC to open up daylight between the teams.
In the end, they had six to spare, advancing to meet Blackrock in the semi-finals.
Scorers for UCC: S Conway 0-9 (0-7 f), P Power 1-4, B Kelleher 1-0, M Kehoe 0-2, M Coleman (f), J Keating, S Barrett, É Desmond, B Verling 0-1 each.
Scorers for Na Piarsaigh: Evan Sheehan 0-6 (0-4 f), P Guest 2-0, D Connery 0-4 (0-2 65, 0-1 f), S Forde 1-1.
UCC (Cork clubs unless stated): D Desmond (Éire Óg); D Lowney (Clonakilty), D Griffin (Carrigaline), K O’Dwyer (Killenaule, Tipperary); P Cadell (JK Brackens, Tipperary), P O’Loughlin (Kilmallock, Limerick), M Coleman (Blarney); J Keating (Kildorrery), S Barrett (Blarney); S Conway (Lixnaw, Kerry), A Casey (Ballyduff Upper, Waterford), É Desmond (Carrigaline); B Kelleher (Carrigaline), P Power (Blarney), O McCarthy (Inniscarra).
Subs: M Kehoe (Kilsheelan-Kilcash, Tipperary) for Kelleher (half-time), D McBarron (Carrigaline) for Barrett (48), B Verling (Cloughduv) for McCarthy (56), K Walsh (Ballincollig) for É Desmond (60), K O’Leary (Castlelyons) for Walsh (60, injured).
NA PIARSAIGH: L Donovan; Anthony Dennehy, Adam Dennehy, C Buckley; D Connery, C Joyce, G Joyce; K Forde, G Healy; Eoin Sheehan, Evan Sheehan, S Forde; D Gunning, P Guest, K Moynihan.
Subs: C Hanifin for Gunning (30), K Buckley for K Forde, D Lee for Healy (both half-time), K Power for Moynihan (60).
Referee: D Copps (Ballyhea).