collingwood cup day three report

22 February 2017

UCC and UCD will contest today's 2017 Collingwood Cup final after both sides overcame stiff challenges in the semi-finals.

In a first half of very few chances, UCC and their Harding Cup nemeses DCU went into half time goal-less. However this would all change within the first 15 minutes of the second half as Daniel Pender snuck around to the back post to head home a cross from the right.

After such a rigorous after extra time quarter final victory over NUI Galway, many expected the cracks to form within DCU but they hit back almost instantaneously when Rory Feely lined up a free kick from 30 yards out, his initial effort hit the wall but Feely was alert to the ball richocheting back to him and struck the ball with venom into the bottom right hand corner of the UCC goal.

With the game at a tipping point, Cork, the 7 times champions in the 21st century used their experience and kept at it and were rewarded ten minutes from time when Pender grabbed his second of the game to regain the advantage.

DCU did have chances to equalise with Alan O'Sullivan guilty of missing a great opportunity when he bore down on goal but instead of going across the keeper, aimed for the near post and hit the side netting.

In a repeat of last year's final in the Mardyke, it seemed a bit de-ja-vu as Limerick took an early lead again from a wonderful long-range strike from Garbhan Coughlan that deceived Niall Corbett. UCD were very much pedestrian like in their first half approach with their preferred method of launching long balls forward ineffective due to the lack of a target man up top with Georgie Kelly only passing a late fitness test to give him a place on the bench.

Limerick led into the second half but were pegged back early on when Daire O'Connor hit the byline and crossed for Ben Hanrahan to head the ball home. The momentum soon switched with UCD well on top and threatening with Jason McClelland finding plenty of joy down the left wing. Added to the introduction of Kelly and Conor Cannon up top, the UCD attack began to have more purpose as Limerick valiantly kept them at bay.

Normal time could not separate them and extra time was needed. As bodies began to tire, UCD showed why they are 43 time champions as 6 minutes into the first half, Cannon flicked on a cross from the right and McClelland stole inside to head the Belfield side into the lead.

As hard as they tried, UL could not muster up enough of a response to bring the sides level again and time ticked down with UCD controlling the ball high up in the Limerick half.

In the Farquhar Cup, Trinity College and Queens University Belfast will contest this morning's final as they both easily saw past the challenges of NUI Galway and the hosts Maynooth University respectively.

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