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Jack leads the way as UCC advance to O'Connor Cup final showdown

HEC O’Connor Cup semi-final

University College Cork 1-10

Ulster University 1-7


A flurry of stoppage time scores by Ellie Jack, Katie Brosnan and Aoife Healy saw UCC advance to the final of the HEC O’Connor Cup for the first time since 2022.

While UCC missed a host of chances on a blustery day in MTU Cork, they dug deep in the final quarter to take the spoils in a heart-stopping conclusion to this exciting semi-final.

It was very much end to end early on. The sides were deadlocked after three minutes with Ellie Jack giving UCC the lead before Emma Conroy levelled for UU. Conroy nudged the Ulster side ahead with her second free but a terrific goalline block by Erin Sands denied UCC a goal chance at the other end.

In the aftermath the Cork side had a penalty. Kellyann Hogan stepped up, the strike however curled to the right and wide of the goal. UCC levelled through Jack, however minutes late a brace of Lauren Garland points had UU ahead 0-4 to 0-2 by the end of the opening quarter.

UCC refused to let their heads drop and Hogan cut the gap to one before Jack finished off a flowing move with a stunning strike to the left top corner of the net for the lead. The advantage was pushed to three when Aine O’Neill fired over.

However, UU responded well and Garland slotted home a penalty to the bottom right corner after she herself had been fouled and that left them ahead by 1-5 to 1-4 at the interval.

Garland pushed Ulster University two ahead seven minutes into the second period, but there was a momentum swing when Paige Smyth went to the sin bin at the end of the third quarter and points by Abigail Ring (free) and Jack levelled the tie in the final quarter.

In the dying minutes Garland and Ring swapped scores as stoppage time loomed, but UCC finished the stronger and Jack, Brosnan and Healy kept their composure at the end to land the points which send them into tomorrow’s final as they bid to secure the O’Connor Cup for the first time since 2012.

Scorers for UCC: E Jack 1-4 (0-1f), A Ring 0-2f,  A O’Neill, K Hogan 1f, A Healy, K Brosnan 0-1 each.

Scorers for UU: L Garland 1-4 (1-0 pen, 0-3f), E Conroy 0-2f, A Sherlock 0-1.

UCC: C Forde; N Martin, D Kiniry, R Sheehan; A McDonagh, A Healy, R Corkery; M O’Connell, K Hogan; A O’Neill, E Twomey, B McMaugh; E Jack, L Hallinan, A Fennessy. Subs: A Ring for Twomey (38), S McGoldrick for McDonagh (56), K Brosnan for Fennessy (60).

UU: D Farley; E Sands, P Smyth, U Ní Chonghaile; N McClorey, C Brown, M Ferguson; M Glynn, O Blaney; L Garland, C O’Hagan, A Sherlock; N King, E Conroy, A Garland. Subs: M O’Neill for M King (38), C Doyle for E Conroy (41), A Gough for A Sherlock(48), A Taggart for C O’Hagan (56), H McQuaid for O Blakey (60).

Referee: Sinead McHugh (Donegal).


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