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St. Mary’s capture Sigerson Cup

February 20th, 2017

St. Mary’s capture Sigerson Cup

St Mary’s University Belfast 0-13

UCD 2-6


The Sigerson Cup is going north for the year after St Mary’s of Belfast defeated UCD in a pulsating contest played in blustery conditions at the fantastic Connacht GAA centre in County Mayo.

The first half was played at a frantic pace, and it was a case of history repeating itself for St. Mary’s as similar to their victory over UCC in the semi’s, they were two goals in arrears in the opening minutes of the game. The first came after slick interplay between Kerry midfielders Jack Barry and Barry O’Sullivan allowed Ballyboden sharp shooter Colm Basquel to slip the goalkeeper and finish to the net, despite the valiant efforts of  Stepehen McConville to keep it out. Before St Mary’s had a chance to gather themselves the Dublin based students had raised another green flag, Basquel with a rocket to the top corner off his left this time, after a trademark surging run from deep from Jack McCaffrey. A lesser team would have thrown in the towel, but this St Mary’s team has proved themselves to be made of sterner stuff than that. After initially appearing to struggle to come to terms with playing with the strong wind at their backs, all of a sudden they caught fire and reeled off the next nine points of the game. The pick of these came from inspirational midfielders Oisin O’Neill and Conall McCann, captain O’Neill catching the eye in particular with two monster frees landed from well outside the 45m line. These were punctuated by scores from Meyler, McShane and a lovely left footed effort by Ciaran Corrigan after a lovely dummy freed himself from the UCD defence.  At half time after playing with a strong wind, St Mary’s led by nine points to 2-01, the game very much all to play for.


The second half started in similar fashion to the first with UCD carving out a goal chance, DCU wing back Conor Mullaly seeing his shot well saved by Mark Reid. Paul Mannion, who was strangely out of sorts and called ashore with ten minutes to go by UCD manager John Divilly, then missed a 45 and very kickable free. Indeed the accuracy of the teams played a big part in deciding this final, with UCD having fourteen wides and St Marys being much more economical with their shooting, only kicking six. With Meyler having a stormer at number seven and the impressive McKernan marshalling the defence in a sweeper role, “The Ranch” braced themselves for the inevitable onslaught they were to face from the hotly fancied UCD outfit. Cathal McShane scrapped hard to kick a precious score into the wind, before a Barry McGinn beauty from an acute angle settled UCD. Conor McCarthy tipped over a stylish point from the left wing to put the minimum between them, before a rare foray up field saw Kieran McGeary restore their two point advantage. Next Wallace for UCD and Corey Quinn for Mary’s exchanged points in an end to end, breathless contest which it must be said was played in a sporting spirit throughout. Then came a crucial moment in the game, with UCD midfielder Barry O’Sullivan correctly black carded in the right corner of the St Mary’s attack, resulting in McGeary nonchantly slotting the pressure free into the breeze, leaving the Ulster men three up with time running out. Basquel and a long range McCarthy free saw the difference reduced to one again as the game slipped into added  time. The kick out from the McCarthy score went long down the middle, and the impressive Tyrone intercounty star Cathal McShane showed the most hunger to pounce on the break and win a vital free for his team, wasting more valuable seconds. UCD had one more chance to equalise in the dying moments, but McCarthy’s speculative effort drifted well wide. The final whistle sparked wild scenes of celebration from St Marys sideline and supporters, who won their first title since 1989. It is a monumental achievement for such a small college, who played with fantastic determination and gave an exhibition of point scoring throughout the tournament. All in all, it was a fitting final to a brilliant competition, which as ever served up many memorable contests.

St Mary’s

  1. Mark Reid (Down)
  2. Ruairi Mooney (Derry)
    3. Aaron McKay (Armagh)
    4. Kyle Mallon (Armagh)
  3. Colm Byrne (Tyrone)
    21. Ciaran Mac Iomhar (Armagh)
    7. Conor Meyler (Tyrone)
  4. Conall McCann (Tyrone)
    9. Oisin O’Neill (Armagh)
  5. Ciaran Corrigan (Fermanagh)
    26. Kieran McGeary (Tyrone)
    12. Stephen McConville (Down)
  6. Kevin McKernan (Down)
    14. Matthew Fitzpatrick (Antrim)
    15. Cathal McShane (Tyrone)

24. Corey Quinn (Down) for McConville (45)
2. Jack Hannigan (Antrim) for Mallon (63)


  1. Colm Honan (Meath)
  2. Michael Fitzsimons (Dublin)
    4. Robert McDaid (Dublin)
    2. Eoin Murchan (Dublin)
  3. Conor Mullally (Dublin)
    6. Stephen Coen (Mayo)
    7. Jack McCaffrey (Dublin)
  4. Barry O’Sullivan (Kerry)
    9. Jack Barry (Kerry)
  5. Conor McCarthy (Monaghan)
    10. Andy McDonnell (Louth)
    12. Eamon Wallace (Meath)
  6. Paul Mannion (Dublin)
    14. Colm Basquel (Dublin)
    15. Barry McGinn (Monaghan)


  1. Liam Casey (Tipperary) for McDonnell (30)
    18. Tom Hayes (Cavan) for Mannion (56)
    19. Larry Moran (Longford) for O’Sullivan (58, black)

Referee: Conor Lane (Cork).