St Mary’s University, Belfast 0-13 UCD 2-6
St Mary’s from Belfast pulled off a major shock when they edged out holders UCD to win just their second Sigerson Cup in a thrilling final at Bekan in Mayo.
The Belfast side recovered from a nightmare start to lead by 0-09 to 2-01 at the interval. They conceded two goals inside the first five minutes, but remarkably went on to hit nine points unanswered.
Champions and red-hot favourites UCD kicked eight wides in the second-half and St Mary’s deservedly held on for a famous win.
"We spoke about this thing of a small college not being able to compete. 850 students, 200-odd lads, we were definitely fighting against the odds. But if you kick a dog often enough it will bite back. This is a special bunch of lads," St Mary's Conor Meyler told TG4 afterwards.
"Whenever we went six points down we knew there was still something there. We never seem to make it easy on ourselves - where's the fun in that?" he joked.
St Mary’s recovered from conceding two early goals in their semi-final over UCC on Friday and they found themselves facing a similar task in this one.
UCD got the dream start even though they were playing against the strong wind with Colm Basquel the hero as he twice rattled the net in the opening three minutes.
Basquel, who made his Dublin debut at the start of the month following on from his All-Ireland club final win with Ballyboden St Enda's last year, got his first goal after just 52 seconds after he was set up by Jack Barry.
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The Belfast university then suffered another big blow when Jack McCaffrey send Basquel through for his second goal.
St Mary’s responded well to the challenge and Oisin O’Neill got them moving after ten minutes with their first score of the match.
Conall McCann, Conor Meyler and O’Neill again found the range to cut the gap to 2-00 to 0-04 after 13 minutes.
Cathal McShane and McCann then hit the target to tie the match after 20 before they O’Neill edged them in front with a couple of frees and Ciaran Corrigan pointed to make it 0-09 to 2-00 approaching half-time.
Paul Mannion eventually ended a 26-minute scoreless spell for the champions when he pointed after a short kickout was intercepted and that left two between them at the interval.
Cathal McShane extended the lead after the restart before Barry McGinn and Conor McCarthy responded for the champions.
But the champions couldn’t get level, with Kieran McJeary pointing for St Mary’s and when Eamon Wallace cut the gap, the Belfast side hit back again through the point of the match from Corey Quinn to lead by 0-12 to 2-4 eleven minutes from time.
McKeary put three between them two minutes from time and while Basquel and McCarthy cut the gap to the minimum, the holders just couldn’t get level and St Mary’s held on for a famous win to bring the trophy back to their college for the first time since 1989.
St Mary's: M Reid; R Mooney, A McKay, K Mallon; C Byrne, C Mac Iomhar, C Meyler (0-01); C McCann (0-02), O O’Neill (0-04, 0-03f); C Corrigan (0-01), K McGeary (0-02, 0-01f), S McConville; K McKernan, M Fitzpatrick, C McShane (0-02).
Subs: C Quinn (0-01) for McConville (45), Hannigan for Mallon (63).
UCD: C Honan; M Fitzsimons, R McDaid, E Murchan; C Mullally, S Coen, J McCaffrey; B O’Sullivan, J Barry; C McCarthy (0-02, 0-01f), A McDonnell, E Wallace (0-01); P Mannion (0-01), C Basquel (2-01), B McGinn (0-01).
Subs: L Casey for McDonnell (30), T Hayes for Mannion (56), L Moran for O’Sullivan (58, black).
Referee: Conor Lane (Cork).