UCC coped without their U21 stars but will need all hands on deck as Sars rematch looms

UCC coped without their U21 stars but will need all hands on deck as Sars rematch looms
UCC's Darragh Holmes wins possession against Erins Own in the Cork County SHC at Riverstown. Picture: Denis Minihane.

BEFORE the usual suspects start to bemoan UCC’s presence in the county senior hurling championship quarter-final they should read the fine print first.

Facts are College fully deserved their 0-23 to 2-16 win over Erin’s Own at the weekend with a team, which had seven Cork players, four from Waterford, three from Kerry and a lone Tipperary representative.

The listed team had 11 from Cork, but injuries to most of their county contingent, Mark Coleman, Darragh Fitzgibbon, Sean O’Donoghue and David Griffin, meant a reshuffle.

UCC didn’t make any substitutions during a typically hard-fought game and while critics will decry the loss of a club team from the championship, others should note how the 15 players applied themselves.

College had the required desire and it stemmed as much from the outside players as it did from those with Cork clubs.

Shane Conway from Lixnaw is small and slight, but he worked himself to a standstill, top-scoring with 0-10, half from play, while Colm Roche from Shamrocks in Waterford followed suit. As they all did.

Coach Tom Kenny was thrilled with the players’ attitude. “We didn’t just simply show up, put on the jersey and get the game out of the way. We weren’t going through the motions.

Picture: Denis Minihane.
Picture: Denis Minihane.

“The lads put in their best effort possible and we won by a point. We’re delighted with that.

“We just said to the lads that they had to fight for every ball, give everything and if they did that we knew we had a great chance coming down the stretch.

“We expected Erin’s Own to be rusty, which was understandable given the way the championship is structured, and we reckoned we had a great chance if we were still in the game in the middle of the second-half,” he said.

The critical spell came in a 10-minute burst when College hit six points without response to help them lead 0-13 to 1-7 at the break.

And the students continued to find the range on the resumption with Neil Montgomery, Charlie Terry and Andrew Casey impressing.

“Everyone knows with UCC you could have a fortune of players or the bare 15 or 20.

“That’s what we had on this occasion, but all our players are good hurlers, who are playing for top teams and top clubs.

“Erin’s Own hadn’t played a championship since last March or April time, like a lot of clubs in Cork, and neither had we.

“But we knew our fellows were up to speed because they had been playing championship with their clubs. They were certainly up to the pace of the game.

“Thankfully, we pushed home though we were a bit lucky near the end, when Erin’s Own could have got a point to level the game.”

A late Eoghan Murphy goal from a free made it an anxious finale for the students.

Now it’s a repeat of last year’s Sarsfields’ clash. 

“We let it slip against them in the drawn game and they beat us in the replay,” Kenny concluded.

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