Late Chris O’Leary penalty fires UCC to Fitzgibbon final

UCC 2-17 DCU 0-22 (AET)

An 82nd-minute penalty from Chris O’Leary gave UCC a dramatic win over DCU in a tense Fitzgibbon semi-final tonight. Tom Kingston’s side held on, despite a late, late penalty appeal from their opponents, to celebrate a first final appearance in six years.

UCC’s Chris O’Leary and Conor Browne celebrate. Pic: INPHO/Morgan Treacy

The Valley Rovers defender struck 1-5 in total. He shot four long-distance efforts from play including two in extra-time. Cork attacker Shane Kingston contributed 1-5 while Kerry forward Shane Conway finished with six points.

The sides were level on nine occasions over a tense encounter. DCU talisman James Bergin, who amassed 0-10, forced the additional twenty minutes with a free two minutes into stoppage time.

Kingston shot 1-3 in the opening half as the Cork students recovered from a slow start to lead 1-8 to 0-10 at the break. On 24 minutes, O’ Leary’s long-range free fell kindly for the full forward and he blasted to the roof of the net.

UCC’s Shane Kingston is tackled by Paudie Foley of DCU Picture: Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

DCU earned a two-point lead with thirteen minutes left but Shane Conway had other ideas. A wonderful solo point in front of the stand followed by a free made it all square. He then set up Kingston for the lead score on 54 minutes. Bergin brought it to extra-time.

When play resumed, Conway registered a disputed free for UCC. The sides were tied on three further occasions before Darren Mullen and Bergin regained a two-point gap for DCU. O’Leary struck two monster scores but Chris Crummey drove forward to leave it 0-22 to 1-17 on 76 minutes. In added time, UCC sub Sean Hayes was bundled over by Eoghan O’Donnell and O’Leary’s penalty squirmed under Oisin Foley.

Chris Crummey of DCU in action against Evan Sheehan of UCC. Picture: Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

Scorers for UCC: S Kingston, C O’Leary (1-0 pen, 1f) 1-5 each, S Conway 0-6 (4fs), M Coleman 0-1.

Scorers for DCU: J Bergin 0-10 (8fs), R O’Connor 0-3, Billy Ryan, S Morrissey 0-2 each, R McBride, C Crummey, D Mullen, D Reck, D Burke 0-1 each.

UCC (Cork club unless stated) J Barry (Castlelyons); N O’Leary (Castlelyons), E Gunning (Na Piarsaigh), K Dwyer (Killenaule, Tipperary); C O’Leary (Valley Rovers), E Murphy (Sarsfields), D Griffin (Carrigaline); M Coleman (Blarney), C Browne (James Stephens, Kilkenny); P O’Loughlin (Kilmallock, Limerick), S Kingston (Douglas), S Conway (Lixnaw, Kerry); M O’Halloran (Blackrock), M Kehoe (Kilsheelan-Kilcash, Tipperary),Colm Roche (Shamrocks, Waterford).

Subs: E Sheehan (Na Piarsaigh) for O’Halloran (3), D Fitzgibbon (Charleville) for Kehoe (25), M Kehoe for Sheehan (48), R Donohue (Buffers Alley, Wexford) for Roche (53), S Hayes (Mallow) for Kehoe (61), D Lynch (Passage, Waterford) for Dwyer (63), D Walsh (Eire Og, Clare) for Donohue (70).

DCU: O Foley (Crossabeg/Ballymurn, Wexford); P Smyth (Clontarf, Dublin), E O’Donnell (Whitehall Colmcilles, Dublin), A Maddock (St Martins, Wexford); P Foley (Crossabeg/Ballymurn, Wexford), C Delaney (Erins Own, Kilkenny), C Crummey (Lucan Sarsfields, Dublin); D Reck (Oylegate-Glenbrien, Wexford), R McBride (St. Vincents, Dublin); D Burke (Na Fianna, Dublin), R O’Connor (St Martins, Wexford), F Whitely (Kilmacud Crokes, Dublin); Billy Ryan (Graigue Ballycallan, Kilkenny), J Bergin (Conahy Shamrocks, Kilkenny), S Morrissey (Bennettsbridge, Kilkenny).

Subs: J Donnelly (Thomastown, Kilkenny) for Burke (40), F McGibb (Setanta, Dublin) for Morrissey (40), K Doyle (Raharney, Westmeath) for Ryan (55), D Mullen (Ballyhale Shamrocks, Kilkenny) for Maddock (59),Brian Ryan (South Liberties, Limerick) for Doyle (60), Billy Ryan for McGibb (60), C Burke (St Vincents, Dublin) for Billy Ryan (77), D Gray (Whitehall Colmcilles, Dublin) for O’Connor (79).

Referee: T Walsh (Waterford)