21 Feb 2016
After 20 years since their last win, and an amazing 13 years since they last appeared in a final, UCD Senior Footballers claimed the prestigious Sigerson Cup in Jordanstown after a nervewrecking final against holders DCU.
UCD delivered their first Sigerson Cup title since 1996 with a 0-10 to 2-02 win over title holders DCU in Jordanstown.
John Divilly's charges dug deep to pull off a famous win, with late points from Man of the Match, Westmeath's John Heslin and Stephen Coen of Mayo securing silverware.
Fittingly, former Galway All-Ireland winner Divilly was part of the UCD team that last won the competition in 1996 and today tasted success as a manager.
The game, which was played in less than ideal conditions, was a low scoring affair but UCD started brightly and led 0-4 to 0-1 after 18 minutes, John Heslin scoring two frees and a point and Monaghan's Conor McCarthy scoring the first of his two points.
2015 champions DCU were behind for most of the game and only scored one point from play, a score from the wing from Stephen Attride in the sixth minute. Their other scores in the game were a free for Shane Carey, a mistake in midfield that resulted in a goal and the second goal came from a penalty, another controversial call on the day by referee David Goldrick.
The south Dublin college again were the better side throughout and triumphed despite Dublin stars Paul Mannion and Jack McCaffrey limping off with minor injuries. UCD were also on the receiving end of two controversial black cards in the game; Kildare forward Niall Kelly in the first half and Monaghans Conor McCarthy late in the second half. Having used all six subs when McCarthy was carded, it meant they finished the game with 14 men.
UCD were buoyed on by an enthusiastic bench late on and as DCU lost defender David Byrne to a black card, UCD controlled possession in the closing stages. Man of the Match John Helsin again stepped up and McCaffrey's replacement, Stephen Coen, scored a left-footed point from a tight angle in the first minute of stoppage time to finally clinch it for UCD.
There was added poignancy to UCD’s victory following the death last April of the Belfield outfit’s long-serving GAA officer Dave Billings.
UCD were a point up when the #billingsarmy Captain Jack McCaffrey went off with a hamstring injury three minutes from the end but he paid tribute to Dave Billings, a UCD stalwart as he accepted the Sigerson Cup from GAA President Aogan Farrell.
“We didn't use the memory of Dave as motivation at any one point during the year, but he was kind of with us all the way.
“He always preached about how the Sigerson Cup was about the friendships we'd make, but winning this isn't half bad either.”
Scorers for UCD – J Heslin 0-6 (4f), C McCarthy 0-2, P Mannion 0-1 (f), S Coen 0-1
Scorers for DCU – S O'Brien 1-0, C Moynagh 1-0 (pen), S Carey 0-1 (f), S Attride 0-1
UCD: E Keogh (Laois); R Wylie (Monaghan), D Hyland (Kildare), D Byrne (Dublin), C Mullaly (Dublin), M Fitzsimons (Dublin), J McCaffrey (Dublin); L Casey (Tipperary), R McDaid (Dublin); C McCarthy (Monaghan), J Heslin (Westmeath), C Basquel (Dublin); E Lowry (Laois), P Mannion (Dublin), N Kelly (Kildare)
Subs: T Hayes (Cavan) for Mannion (17), J McEntee (Meath) for Kelly (BC, 29), S Coen (Mayo) for McEntee (43), J Barry (Kerry) for Lowry (53), S O'Dea (Limerick) for McCaffrey (57), T Moolick for Casey (58)
DCU: P O'Donnell (Donegal); K Daly (Westmeath), K Feeley (Kildare), J Smith (Dublin); S Attride (Laois), C Moynagh (Cavan), D Byrne (Dublin); S O'Brien (Tipperary), M Quinn (Longford); D O'Connor (Mayo), E Smith (Roscommon), C Begley (Laois); R Connor (Longford), R Lyons (Fermanagh), S Carey (Monaghan)
Subs: S Carthy (Dublin) for Quinn (HT), C McGraynor (Wicklow) for Connor (HT),
D Ward (Monaghan) for Daly (44), C McHugh (Dublin) for Carey (47), C Breheny (Sligo) for Lyons (47), C McNally (Armagh) for Smith (59)
REFEREE: David Coldrick (Meath)