UCC football boss concedes it's unlikely Freshers series will be completed

UCC football boss concedes it's unlikely Freshers series will be completed
Dylan O'Connor, Cork IT, is challenged by Brian Lynch and Eoin Fitzgerald, UCC. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

IN normal circumstances UCC Freshers should be looking forward to a championship semi-final with UCD this afternoon.

But, as with the case with all sports, everything is in lockdown and manager Dr Aidan Kelleher isn’t overly optimistic about the game ever taking place.

“I’d say it will be very hard to complete the Freshers championship.

“Realistically, it would have to be done before the end of April and I’d be surprised to see that happening.

“Exams usually start the first week in May and normally the Freshers are over before April.

“You could always play the semi-finals on a Monday and the final on the Thursday and we’d be hoping to get that chance.

“Obviously, though, there are more important things going on in the world than football,” he said.

UCC ended NUIG’s reign as champions with a 1-13 to 1-12 away quarter-final win, displaying great courage in overcoming a lot of adversary.

Firstly, Kerry U20s pulled Owen Fitzgerald, Michael O’Gara and Ruaidhri O'Beaglaoich because of their All-Ireland semi-final against Galway which was also postponed.

Cork lost wing-back Eoin Lehane (Canovee) through injury before the game and then Colin Crowley (Glanmire) suffered a groin strain, needing to be replaced at half-time.

On top of that Daniel O’Mahony (Knocknagree) picked up a harsh second yellow card during the early stages of the second-half, when UCC were playing against the wind.

And two players, Conor Russell and Brian Lynch, had played with Douglas U21s the night before, a game which didn’t finish until 10 pm.

Russell made a significant contribution while Lynch lasted 35 minutes before cramp set in.

Little wonder than Kelleher was full of admiration for their commitment to the cause.

“It was a great game of football. The big thing was that NUIG had all their Galway U20s and they started well.

“We got on top in the second quarter and managed to move 1-6 to 0-4 up approaching half-time, when they scored a goal.

“Rian Quigley (Moyle Rovers) scored our goal, but Ian Jennings (Kilmacabea) deserves a lot of the credit for it and was the best player on the pitch by a mile.

“He did all the work and was absolutely fantastic for us at left half-forward, covering a huge amount of ground.

“Ian was very good on our kick-out and he caused theirs an awful lot of problems.

“I’d say he was very unlucky not to make the Cork U20s panel and was very motivated. He’s been very good for us all year.

“James O’Riordan from Carbery Rangers played directly behind him and they had massive games.

“And our captain Fionn Herlihy (Dohenys), who was outstanding all season, was another to leave everything on the pitch.

“We brought on Ciaran Nyhan (Ballinascarthy) to make one of their best players Cian Monahan and he did a brilliant job on him.”

College came under fierce pressure in the closing stages before hanging for a deserved win.

“They had a major threat in Theo Culhane, but Bill Curtin (Kilshannig), who came on for Cork U20s, started for us for the first time and had a massive game.

“Our goalkeeper Dylan Foley (Eire Og) also made a brilliant save with a few minutes to go and that was important.”

It was a display which augurs well for the College in the immediate future.

“They showed massive heart and desire and represented the jersey really well.

“A lot of them are going to go on and play Sigerson for the College and I have to say football in UCC is in a very strong position.

“They love playing for the College and there is a strong affiliation there, too, which is another good thing,” Kelleher concluded.

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