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20th Feb 2019

Magical Sean O’Shea the difference as UCC do the business

Niall McIntyre

UCC 0-16 St Mary’s Belfast 1-9

UCC have won their 22nd Electric Ireland Sigerson Cup.

A second half red card to Armagh man Aaron Boyle proved decisive as UCC stretched their legs late on to defeat St Mary’s Belfast by four points in the Electric Ireland Sigerson Cup final in O’Moore Park Portlaoise.

The red card, which came after a yellow and a black came at a time when Mary’s were roaring into contention in the midlands and they’ll be left ruing that turning point.

It would be a disservice to UCC however, to say that they didn’t deserve it. They were the better team for the majority of this game with Sean O’Shea, who was eventually named as the man-of-the-match on fire the whole night long.

They needed him at his best.

Because with a blinder of an Electric Ireland Sigerson Cup campaign behind him, the in-form Slaughtneil sniper Shane McGuigan kicked St Mary’s Belfast into an early lead to some loud cheers from the Ranch faithful.

UCC took a while to click, but when they did, they made it count. Corner back Graham O’Sullivan from the Dromid Pearse’s club in Kerry ghosted forward for a gorgeous long-ranger and that seemed to settle them into game.

This was quickly followed by a Paudie Clifford special and Billy Morgan’s charges looked poised. St Mary’s wouldn’t die easy though and with Shane McGuigan on form and with Stephen McConville slotting the frees for them, there was nothing between them midway through the first half,

UCC had more to give though. With their star-studded forward line piling on the pressure, Mary’s backs often had no option other than to foul but with Sean O’Shea lining them up, they were punished for everything.

He kicked one from 45, another from 50 – off the ground and from the hands, it doesn’t matter to the Kenmare man and that brought the momentum back to Cork.

Graham O’Sullivan kicked another beauty and with the big, burly Padraig Lucey of the Killarney Legion club taking over in the middle of the field, they bounded into the dressing rooms with a 0-9 to 1-3 lead.

The Kerry man’s fetches, which you can watch here from the Electric Ireland stream, were the highlights of the half.

St Mary’s emerged for the second half a different team though. That man McGuigan kicked another cracker and Stephen McConville pointed to bring them within one.

UCC smelled the danger and that man O’Shea stepped up when they needed him to stretch their lead in response though. Then, disaster struck for the Ranch in a crazy two minute spell for Aaron Boyle.

First, the Armagh man was pulled over by referee David Gough and was shown a yellow carded for having his gumshield in his sock rather than wearing it. Then, he received a black card moments later for an off-the-ball collision when UCC were attacking.

To Mary’s credit, they didn’t wilt easy but eventually UCC’s class told and they tore away. Subs Gary Murphy and James Naughton pointed late on to seal a 22nd Sigerson Cup for them.

UCC team

Mark White; Michael Flood, Kevin Flahive, Graham O’Sullivan(0-2), Daniel O’Brien, Brian Begley, Cian Kiely (0-1), Padraig Lucey (0-1), Jack Kennedy; Padraig Clifford (0-2), Sean O’Shea (0-7, 0-5f), Conor Horgan; Conor Geaney, Killian Spillane, Eimhin Courtney.


David Shaw on for Conor Horgan (HT), James Naughton (0-1) for Courtney (52), Eoin Finnerty for Spillane (52), Gary Murphy (0-1) for Conor Geaney (52), Conal O’Hainifin for Daniel O’Brien (59)

St. Mary’s Belfast team

Mark Reid; Liam Rafferty, Caolan Dillon, Miceal Rooney (0-1) C Byrne, Ryan McCusker (0-1), Aaron Duffy; Jarleth Og Burns, Liam Devlin; Stephen McConville (0-3, 0-2f), Shane McGuigan (0-3), Aaron Boyle; Niall Toner, Ryan Coleman (1-0), Cathair McKinney.

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