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UUJ challenge ended by classy O'Callaghan

UCD 0-18 UUJ 1-13 (after extra-time)

By John Campbell

There was heartbreak for UUJ in last night's Sigerson Cup semi-final at saturated Grattan Park, Inniskeen when, after not one but two passages of extra-time, UCD finally triumphed by a two-point margin.

It was Dublin county star Con O'Callaghan who helped the UCD side over the line when he held his nerve in the closing stages but UUJ's spirit and resilience were never in question.

After Eoin Lowry scored UCD's opening point from a free, Liam Casey was on target from play before Tyrone ace Ronan McNamee brought the sides back on level terms with a fine score following an earlier effort from Frank Burns.

The combined pace of Eoin McHugh and the lively Mark Bradley saw the UCD defence transgress rather too often and unsurprisingly it was from a free that Derry's Terence O'Brien flighted over the Ulster side's third point to leave the sides deadlocked on 0-3 each at the interval.

UUJ looked to have stolen a march on their opponents when they swept into an 0-8 to 0-5 lead in the third quarter with Michael McKernan, Rory Brennan, Burns and Lee Brennan (2) emphasising their dominance on the scoreboard.

But when Monaghan's Conor McCarthy helped himself to three points in rapid succession that eased his side into a 0-11 to 0-9 lead, UCD appeared to have one hand on the trophy.

Gareth McKinless whipped over a superb long-range score to leave it at 0-12 each at the end of normal time.

It was nip and tuck in the first spell of extra-time after Bradley had fired in the only goal of the game only for O'Callaghan and McCarthy to respond with points.

A Rory Brennan point again left the sides tied - at 1-13 to 0-16 - before two five-minute spells of 'extra' extra time were played during which O'Callaghan's skilful finishing proved decisive in ushering his side into the decider.

But UUJ can take many positives from a brave effort and their stars will return to their counties for big tests ahead.

UUJ: S Fox; M Magee, M McKernan 0-1, M McEvoy; R Brennan 0-3, R McNamee 0-2, G McKinless 0-1; T O'Brien 0-1 (f), J Munroe; R McAnespie, M Bradley 1-1, E McHugh; L Brennan 0-2, N Madine, F Burns 0-2. Subs: D Mulgrew for Madine (54), D Gallagher for Burns (56), D Tallon for McAnespie (60), F Burns for McNamee (70).

UCD: C Manton; L Fortune, C O'Shea, P Healy; S Coen, C Mullally, J Feehan; B O'Sullivan, J Barry; L Casey 0-1, C McCarthy 0-5, B Byrne 0-2; C O'Callaghan 0-4 (3f), E O'Carroll 0-4 (4f), E Lowry 0-1 (f). Subs: B O Seannachan for Casey (41), T Hayes for Lowry (44),L Silke 0-1 for Byrne (51).

Referee: Sean Hurson (Tyrone)

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