Football

Ulster University and Maynooth set up Sigerson semi-final clash

Queen’s are edged out by late point

Maynooth v Queen's
Maynooth v Queen's Queens University's Anton Tohill tackles Sean Leech of Maynooth Univerity Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Leah Scholes (©INPHO/Leah Scholes ©INPHO/Leah Scholes/©INPHO/Leah Scholes)

Electric Ireland Sigerson Cup quarter-finals

Technological University, Dublin 1-10 Ulster University 0-16

THERE was no sign of Glen’s All-Ireland winning duo Conor Glass and Ethan Doherty on the field – but Ulster University were indebted to the class of Darragh Canavan in Grangegorman on Wednesday night.

The Tyrone forward – lining out alongside brother Ruairi - bagged three classy scores from play, and was at the centre of plenty more, as UU got the better of Technological College, Dublin to secure their spot in the Sigerson semi-finals.

They will face Maynooth next Thursday for a place in the final, with the other semi-final featuring University of Limerick and UCD.

Even without Glass and Doherty, there was a definite Derry influence on proceedings from the off as Charlie Diamond fed Niall Loughlin, who opened UU’s account, before the Errigal Ciaran duo of Darragh Canavan and Peter Og McCartan made it 0-3 to 0-1.

But TU came back into it as the game wore on, Cavan’s Cormac McGeough and powerful midfielder Killian McGuinness levelling it up as the remainder of the half became tit-for-tat.

Ciaran Daly and the impressive Loughlin notched further scores before Fermanagh ace Josh Largo-Elis curled over to send UU in a point ahead at the break, 0-6 to 0-5.

And, with the Ulster University defence keeping the TU forwards under lock and key, Ulster University made hay as soon as the second half started.

Some quick thinking, and quick hands, saw Darragh Canavan flick the ball over the bar, before he added another minutes later as UU took control, brother Ruairi helping stretch that out to a six point.

UU capitalised on TU struggles to make any kind of impact by punishing them at the other, midfielder Oisin McCann popping up with a brilliant score heading down the straight.

Ruairi Canavan bagged another free as UU kept the scoreboard ticking over, and it looked as though the fight was going out of TU until a series of long balls into the square finally paid dividends when sub Cian Hanley lashed to the net.

However, with Ulster University well ahead, it proved too little, too late.

It was another important step for Barry Dillon’s men, who have bounced back from earlier defeat to UCD to get the better of MTU Cork before last night’s victory sent them into the last four.

Maynooth University 0-10 Queen’s University, Belfast 0-9

Rising Meath star Eoghan Frayne capped a terrific few days with the winning point as Maynooth sneaked through to the Sigerson semi-finals.

A county title winner in 2023 with Summerhill, Frayne made his League debut for the Royal county last Saturday and kicked five points in their Division Two draw with Fermanagh.

Five days later, he returned to his college GAA grounds and sniped the 63rd-minute point from a free that won it for Maynooth.

Truth be told, Maynooth may have won with a little more to spare but butchered a series of decent attacking opportunities in the second half of a keenly contested quarter-final.

They have little tradition to speak of in the competition with just one win from 1976 and their last final appearance was in 2012.

But after knocking out holders UCC and taking down a Queen’s side that arrived in Kildare with a perfect record following wins over DCU and TUS Midlands, Aidan Minnock’s side will fancy themselves as title contenders.

They have a strong set of forwards and Kildare senior Darragh Kirwan, a key player for county champions Naas, top-scored again with five points.

Wicklow defender Tom Moran kicked an important first-half point too, while another Meath player, Ruairi Kinsella, and Offaly’s Keith O’Neill were on the mark in the second half.

Queen’s may feel hard done by that after winning both of their previous games they had to travel to Maynooth who’d previously lost to UL in round 2A before bouncing back with that win over UCC.

It was Maynooth’s third game running on home soil in the competition and while Queen’s opened up an early 0-4 to 0-2 lead with points from free-taker Luke Donnelly, Diarmuid King and Joe McDade, it was back level at 0-4 apiece by the 17th minute.

Former AFL player Anton Tohill, fit again after a hand injury, started at midfield and was an influential figure, though Maynooth hit the interval with a 0-7 to 0-6 lead.

With a last-four place on the line, the second half was a low-scoring, intense affair with six points split evenly between the teams.

Maynooth kicked four wides in the half and a number of promising looking breaks forward came to nothing following misplaced passes to the inside forward line.

Donnelly twice levelled the game up at 0-8 and 0-9 apiece before Maynooth were awarded a free on the left wing and Frayne, right in front of his watching father, split the posts for a dramatic winner.

Maynooth University (Kildare unless stated) C Burke; T Moran (Wicklow) (0-1), T McPhillips (Monaghan), R Burke; D Scahill (Westmeath), S Greene (Laois), P McDermott; L Killian, C Walsh (Roscommon); K O’Sullivan (Westmeath), S O’Sullivan, S Leech (Westmeath); D Kirwan (0-5, 3f), E Frayne (Meath) (0-2, 2f), R Kinsella (Meath) (0-1).

Subs K O’Neill (Offaly) (0-1) for S O’Sullivan h/t, J Fitzpatrick (Roscommon) for Leech 44, R Gibbons for Greene 53

Queen’s R Rafferty (Derry); A McCloskey (Derry), E Corry (Tyrone), B Conway (Tyrone); C Quinn (Tyrone), R Donnelly (Tyrone), M Murnaghan (Tyrone) (0-1); J McDade (Fermanagh) (0-1), C Hynds (Antrim); R Boyle (Antrim), C Bohill (Antrim), D Higgins (Derry); L Donnelly (Tyrone) (0-6, 5f), D King (Fermanagh) (0-1), J Tunney (Down).

Subs P Purcell (Dublin) for Bohill 13, J O’Hara (Down) for McGuirk 46, J Devlin (Down) for Higgins 50.

Referee D Hickey (Carlow)

Quarter-final results

University of Galway 1-6 UCD 1-14

Univeristy Limerick 0-14 DCU Dóchas Éireann 1-10

Maynooth University 0-10 Queens University, Belfast 0-9

TU, Dublin 1-10 Ulster University 0-16

Semi-finals

Thursday, February 8 (times and venues TBC)

UCD v UL

Maynooth v UU