University of Limerick Stage Incredible Comeback



Queen's University Belfast v University of Limerick - O'Connor Cup Final


Queen’s University Belfast 1-9 University of Limerick 3-7


Goals from Roisin Leonard and player-of-the-match Julia White helped University of Limerick overcome a seven point half-time deficit to win the O’Connor Cup yesterday.

But hosts Queen’s University Belfast must be wondering how they failed to build on an impressive first half display.

The holders failed to score after half-time as they crashed to their first defeat of the year and a determined UL effort after the break ensured the cup went back to Munster.

It took extra-time in the All-Ireland League final back in November to separate these teams, with Queen’s taking the silverware that day. But there was to be no double for the Ulster university, despite their commanding 1-9 to 1-2 lead at the break.

After a slow start, Queen’s had established a 0-4 to 0-1 lead by the 17th minute thanks to two Caroline O’Hanlon frees and points from Fionnuala McKenna and Ruth Kearney.

But in the 20th minute a high ball in from impressive forward Niamh O’Dea was caught by Leonard, and she turned and buried to the net to level.

O’Dea added a free to put UL ahead 1-2 to 0-4 after 21 minutes, but it was to be their last score of the half.

Powered by O’Hanlon and Caitlin Malone at midfield, Queen’s began to dominate. In the final 10 minutes plus injury time they scored 1-5 without reply, the goalpalmed to the net by Lisa Kelly in the 25th minute.

UL had Lorraine Scanlon sin-binned in first-half injury time yet despite being down to 14 players early in the second half, they were a revitalised side after the break.

Queen’s struggled to get a grip at midfield and scores from O’Dea and Leonard, who pointed with the goal at her mercy, pulled Limerick back to just four points.

Then on 44 minutes, after interchanging passes with Aine Tighe, Julia White finished to the net to leave it 1-9 to 2-5.

Five minutes later Tighe levelled from a free and both sides spurned chances to steal ahead before the crucial scores of the match came as the clock ticked down.

On 59 minutes O’Dea scored from 14 yards out to give UL the lead, and as Queen’s pushed for the equaliser they were hit by a cruel blow.

A high ball in was spilled by keeper Katie Daly, and Leonard profited, making no mistake from point blank range with her second goal of the game.


Scorers for Queen’s: C O’Hanlon (0-4, 3 frees), L Kelly (1-0), F McKenna (0-2), R Kearney, A Canavan and M Cooper (0-1 each).

Scorers for UL: R Leonard (2-1), N O’Dea (0-4, 1 free), J White (1-0), A Tighe (0-2, 1 free)


Queen’s: K Day (Armagh), D Morgan (Armagh), T McLaughlin (Tyrone), L Kilpatrick (Tyrone), N Woods (Tyrone), S McCleary (Armagh), L McConville (Armagh), C Malone (Armagh), C O’Hanlon (Armagh), M Doherty (Down), F McKenna (Armagh), R Kearney (Westmeath), A Canavan (Tyrone), M Cooper (Antrim), L Kelly (Tyrone)

Subs: A McCoy for Doherty (41 mins), C McCrossan for Kelly (56 mins).


UL: L Crowley (Cork), B McManus (Cork), S Tierney (Mayo), C Cooney (Galway), C O’Sullivan (Kerry), K Keaney (Donegal), L O’Sullivan (Kerry), L Scanlon (Kerry), J Grant (Tipperary), J White (Cork), M Byrne (Wexford), C McCarthy (Kerry), N O’Dea (Clare), A. Tighe (Leitrim), R Leonard (Galway).

Subs: C Corrigan for McCarthy (half-time), C McCarthy for Byrne (54 mins).


Referee: Keith Tighe (Dublin)

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