UCC’S long wait to get their hands on the Ashbourne Cup will need to go on for at least another year after the college came up just shy against UL in Mallow last night.
In front of a large, vocal crowd, the Leeside students battled hard against the competition favourites but ultimately came up short after the reigning champions upped the ante in the second period to pull clear.
UCC’s Orla Cronin was the star of the show for their side with seven points (five frees and a 45) with Maeve McCarthy and Katrina Mackey adding to their side’s challenge on the scoreboard.
Captain Libby Coppinger, Limerick native Sinead McNamara and Cork star Hannah Looney also showed well in the game, however on this occasion, it was to be UL’s day as they showed patience and no shortage of skill coming back from a tight first half to see this one out well at the finish.
The Shannonsiders were pushed all the way by the Cork side that were looking to bridge a 15-year gap since they last got their hands on this prestigious crown.
Led on the scoring stakes by Beth Carton and Orla Dwyer, UL started this one well and looked like they would lead at the turn, however, a goal on the stroke of half-time from UCC’s Mackey meant that the challengers went in leading by the minimum, 1-3 to 0-5. The corner-forward cut in after a brilliant pass from Amy O’Connor and finished well past UL’s Roisin Breen to rock the holders.
The interval came at the right time for UL as they had a chance to regroup and credit to the 2016 and 17 champions they responded straight from the restart with a point from Ciara Murphy. The intensity of the tie was palpable at this point and the Leesiders hit back with a quick brace from Cronin and Mackey but from that point on the Limerick side took control, pushing out to a five point lead as the game entered the final 10 minutes.
UCC’s Cronin continued to keep the scoreboard ticking over for the Skull and Crossbones with four late frees. UCC fought hard to make an impression on the possession and on the scoreboard stakes but they were thwarted by a Limerick defensive group that hunted in packs and were determined not to let the Cork girls in on goal again.
That said, UCC did have chances to raise their second green flag, and if they had managed to net again then this one may well have turned out differently, however, they failed to make the most of those chances and that would seal their fate.
There was one late scare for the winners when a long high ball came into a packed square however Breen in the UL goal did well to bat the ball clear which was UCC’s last chance to steal this one at the death.
UCC will be happy with the display on the night, however, they met up with a side that fully deserved the win carrying the Ashbourne Cup north up the N20 to where it will sit for another year at least.
Scorers for UL: B Carton 0-5 (0-2 f, 0-1 45 ); O Dwyer 0-4; R Howard, C Murphy, S Fryday, G O’Brien, N Hanniffy, E Fryday 0-1 each.
UCC: O Cronin 0-7 (0-5 f, 0-1 45); K Mackey 1-1; M McCarthy 0-1.
UL: R Breen (Goresbridge); C Walsh (Annacarthy), M Ryan (Moneygall), C Maher (Burgess/Duharra) E Kelly (Truagh/Clonlara), C Hehir (Inagh/Kilnamona), K Kennedy (Thurles Sarsfields); E Fryday (Clonoulty Rossmore), C Murphy (Clarinbridge); R Howard (Cahir), B Carton (De La Salle), O O’Dwyer (Cashel); S Fryday (Clonoulty Rossmore), N Hanniffy (Oranmore/Mauree), C Lyons (Monaleen).
Subs: A Keane (Inagh/Kilnamona) for S Fryday (40), A Considine (Kilmihil) for C Murphy (45), G O’Brien (Nenagh) for C Lyons (50).
UCC: L Brennan (Rathmure); R Phelan (Conahy Shamrocks), M Cahalane (St Finbarr’s), L O’Sullivan (Glen Rovers); A Landers (An Rinn), L Coppinger (St Colum’s), C Sigerson (Killeagh); M McCarthy (Sarsfields), H Looney (Killeagh); A O’Connor (St Vincent’s), O Cronin (Enniskeane), S McNamara (Na Piarsaigh); P Mackey (Douglas), N McCarthy (Inniscarra), K Mackey (Douglas).
Subs: L Callanan (Glen Rovers) for M McCarthy (40), H Ryan (Blackrock) for A Landers (50).
Referee: J McDonagh (Galway)
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