Sunday, Electric Ireland Sigerson Cup semi-final: UCC v NUI Galway, Mallow, 2pm
DESPITE scoring a whopping 11-47 in two previous rounds, UCC know from bitter experience that will count for very little against familiar opponents who caused a huge shock 12 months ago.
Even with home advantage at the Mardyke, the Cork students came unstuck against a defence-minded Galway side, which restricted UCC to just four points from play in a stunning 1-9 to 0-7 upset.
There was drama at the death, as well, when Galway keeper Tadhg O’Malley was black-carded for a foul, which led to a penalty that was saved by replacement custodian Maghnus Breathnach.
At the time, UCC trailed by four points, but after Killian Spillane’s effort was stopped, the visitors counter-attacked for Céin D’Arcy to land the closing point.
He is one of seven survivors along with fellow midfielder Peter Cooke, defenders Sean Mulkerrin, Stephen Brennan, Kieran Molloy and Ruairí Greene and Enda Tierney up front.
They’ve rode their luck en route, including the 1-8 to 1-7 win over a fancied UUJ outfit whereas UCC, who won the league earlier in the season, rode roughshod over Athlone IT and IT Carlow.
They hit 7-26 against the Midland team, when Paudie Clifford bagged a hat-trick of goals with Conor Horgan (Nemo Rangers) adding 2-1 and Castletownbere’s Gary Murphy 1-4.
In all College supplied a dozen different scorers as they emptied a very talented bench to inflict maximum damage.
And it was the same in the quarter-final when slamming 4-21 past Carlow, Clifford chipping in with 1-5 to bring his total to 4-6 and Murphy adding 1-1 for 2-5 in all. Kerry ace Sean O’Shea landed 0-7.
Liam O’Donovan (Clonakilty) was an injury victim in Cork’s league defeat by Clare last weekend and is ruled out for six weeks.
Fellow county players, Mark White (Clonakilty) and Kevin Flahive (Douglas), also played in that game.
UCC are captained by Ballincollig’s Cian Kiely while the usually strong Kerry connection is strengthened by the likes of Briain Ó Beaglaoich at centre-back and Conor Geaney on the edge of the square.
Other counties are represented, too, like Tipperary’s Jack Kennedy at midfield, Meath’s James McEntee at wing-back and Clare’s Eimhin Courtney in the inside line.
The bookies make College red-hot favourites to advance to a final against the holders UCD, who meet St Mary’s, Belfast, tomorrow. The final is set for Wednesday next.