Champions UL cruise into Yoplait O'Connor Cup final

Yoplait O’Connor Cup

University of Limerick 7-14

Queen’s University 1-9

by Ivan Smyth

University of Limerick set up a mouth-watering Yoplait O’Connor Cup final against DCU as the reigning champions produced a scintillating opening half display to power through.

The holders laid the foundation for an impressive win when they led by 6-9 to 0-4 at the break with their link-up play and unselfishness on the ball proving the catalyst for a comfortable victory at the University of Galway Connacht GAA Air Dome.

After the sides were level twice inside the opening 10 minutes, UL soon assumed complete control as they kicked 4-4 without reply. With Erika O’Shea producing marauding runs from deep and the inside forwards able to pick the perfect pass, UL pulled away.

After Erone Fitzpatrick edged her side in front, Niamh O’Connor grabbed the game’s first goal after being played through by Ciara Needham. Goal number two came when Aoife Molloy and Deirbhile Beirne combined to set Siofra O’Shea through as the full forward blasted to the net.

UL were in again a minute later when Erika O’Shea drove forward and offloaded to Beirne to slot home. Aoife O’Rourke got in on the act when O’Shea unselfishly laid the ball off to the impressive corner forward. Susanne White ended a difficult 12 minute spell for Queen’s when she arrowed over a free but UL were not done yet.

Beirne grabbed her second major of the game when she exchanged passes with O’Rourke before finishing. It was Beirne who turned provider to set up Siofra O’Shea to palm home as UL opened up a 23 point half time lead.

Queen’s produced an improved final half showing as after O’Rourke extended UL’s advantage, Susanne White fired over a free for Queen’s before they grabbed their first goal of the game.

Ana Mulholland won a turnover deep in UL territory before storming through and producing an emphatic finish to the net. The UL response was swift as they hit back through an Amy Sexton goal after Erone Fitzpatrick produced a perfect pass for the onrushing Kilmurry Ibrickane club player.

UL saw out the remainder of the game with the minimum of fuss as they are now just one win away from a record extending 14th Yoplait O’Connor Cup crown.

Scorers – University of Limerick: S O’Shea and D Beirne 2-2,  A O’Rourke 1-4, A Sexton and N O’Connor 1-1, E Fitzpatrick 0-4.

Queen’s University Belfast: S White (3f) and B Bogue 0-3 each, A Mulholland 1-0, E Druise, M McCann, N Reel 0-1 each.

University of Limerick: M Bolger, D Kiniry, L Spillane, S Ní Chonaill, E O Shea, N Ward, A Molloy, C Needham, A Reidy, D Beirne, N O’Connor, E Fitzpatrick, A O’Rourke, S O’Shea, A Morrissey. Subs: A Sexton for Morrissey (7, inj), S Cunney for Needham (35), Z Fay for Reidy (35), K Nolan for O’Connor (35), C Gillespie for O’Rourke (43).

Queen’s University Belfast: B Mathers, N Scullion, M Doherty, M McShane, C Garvey, G Ferguson, O Duffy, A Mulholland, C Bogue, C Towe, D Gallagher, E Druise, M McCann, S White, N Reel. Subs: B Bogue for Scullion (10), B McNally for Druise (35), L McAlary for Gallagher (38), E Fitzpatrick for Towe (49), K Byrne for Mulholland (52).

Referee: S Curley (Galway).

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