UCC had 11 scorers as they saw off Duhallow at Mourneabbey in last night’s Co-op SuperStores Cork Premier SHC divisions/colleges semi-final.
While 12 points separated the sides at the end, indicating an easy passage for the College through to Sunday’s clash against Imokilly for a place in the quarter-finals of the competition proper, Duhallow deserve credit for their dogged resistance.
With seven minutes left, the north-western division trailed by nine points when they were awarded a penalty when Eoin Sheahan was fouled. Unfortunately for them, Tomás Howard’s shot came back off the crossbar and, though sub Brandon Murphy had a point to cut the deficit to eight, UCC made sure of victory with a late goal from sub Pádraig O’Leary before Owen McCarthy rounded off the evening with a point.
It was McCarthy who set things rolling with a first-minute point for UCC and, after Keith O’Leary had doubled the lead, McCarthy added a goal, set up by Brian Verling. With the half-back line of Mark Coleman, Paddy Cadell and Paddy O’Loughlin providing a plentiful supply of ball inside, UCC couldn’t not score, even if they did have more than a few wides, too.
After their slow start, Duhallow did get going when Kevin Tarrant capitalised on sloppy defensive play to score a goal, and by the 21st minute they were still in touch as Howard’s point left them four behind, 1-9 to 1-5.
UCC, with James Keating impressing at midfield, pushed on though as Shane Conway pointed and then set up midfielder David Griffin for a goal before Éanna Desmond made it double scores.
By the break, Keating’s fourth point had left them 2-12 to 1-7 clear and Verling and Coleman extended that advantage to ten points after the restart. Duhallow responded well with points from Sheahan, Howard and Jack Murphy but UCC were always able to find the necessary space to augment their advantage when required.
A sweeping crossfield ball from Coleman allowed Brian Kelleher to point on 38 minutes and then O’Loughlin and Conway set up Keith O’Leary for this third of the evening. Conway really began to find his stride midway through the half and Karl Walsh would have notched a third UCC goal but for a good Kevin Roche save.
It was 2-19 to 1-11 by the second-half water-break and Conway extended that advantage further when the action resumed, but Duhallow had a lifeline when Howard scrambled home a goal on 48 and then added a point to bring them back to within eight, 2-20 to 2-12.
Conway’s fifth point of the night pushed UCC further ahead, but there must have been some nerves when goalkeeper Dylan Desmond felled Sheahan for the penalty. Thankfully for UCC, the lead wasn’t reduced to six points and they did enough in the closing stages to finally put the Duhallow challenge to bed.
Scorers for UCC: S Conway 0-5 (0-2 f, 0-1 65), O McCarthy 1-2, J Keating 0-4, D Griffin 1-1, K O’Leary 0-3, P O’Leary 1-0, M Coleman, B Verling 0-2 each, É Desmond, P O’Loughlin, B Kelleher 0-1 each.
Scorers for Duhallow: T Howard 1-3 (0-2f), S O’Reilly 0-3f, K Tarrant 1-0, M Ellis 0-2 (0-1f), J Murphy, W Murphy, G Lenihan, E Sheahan, B Murphy 0-1 each.
UCC (Cork clubs unless stated): D Desmond (Éire Óg); E Clifford (Cloughduv), D Lowney (Clon), K O’Dwyer (Killenaule, Tipperary); M Coleman (Blarney), P Cadell (JK Brackens, Tipperary), P O’Loughlin (Kilmallock, Limerick); J Keating (Kildorrery), D Griffin (Carrigaline); K O’Leary (Castlelyons), S Conway (Lixnaw, Kerry), É Desmond (Carrigaline); B Verling (Cloughduv), B Kelleher (Carrigaline), O McCarthy (Inniscarra).
Subs: K Walsh (Ballincollig) for Desmond (40), P O’Leary (Watergrasshill) for Verling, M O’Leary (Valley Rovers) for Coleman (both 47), D McBarron (Carrigaline) for Keating (56).
DUHALLOW: K Roche (Banteer); C Buttimer (Kilbrin), C O’Callaghan (Dromtarriffe), B Weathers (Banteer); A Ryan (Newmarket), M Ellis (Millstreet), J Murphy (Dromtarriffe); W Murphy (Meelin), S Howard (Dromtarriffe); N Flahive (Millstreet), T Howard (Dromtarriffe), G Lenihan (Kilbrin); S O’Reilly (Kilbrin), K Tarrant (Banteer), E Sheahan (Kilbrin).
Subs: E Murphy (Dromtarriffe) for O’Reilly, C Murphy (Castlemagner) for W Murphy (both half-time), B Murphy (Dromtarriffe) for Tarrant (36), S Crowley (Kilbrin) for Flahive (42).
Referee: C O’Regan (Ballyhea).