DCU and IT Carlow reach Electric Ireland Sigerson Cup decider
Electric Ireland Sigerson Cup semi-finals
DCU 1-15 UCD 0-3
IT CARLOW 2-9 LETTERKENNY IT 1-9
By Paul Keane
DCU have placed themselves within an hour of claiming the Electric Ireland Sigerson Cup following another impressive win but will have to overcome first-time finalists IT Carlow next Wednesday.
Paddy Christie's DCU hit Queens for seven goals in the quarter-finals and took care of 2018 champions UCD with surprising ease while a last gasp Adam Steed goal in Inniskeen won it for breakthrough outfit IT Carlow.
Monaghan duo David Garland and goalscorer Micheal Bannigan contributed 1-9 between them for DCU while Dublin's Paddy Small and Evan Comerford were both on the mark for the 2015 winners too.
Goalkeeper Comerford converted two second-half points from placed balls and with Stephen Cluxton injured the Ballymun man is likely to be on duty again at Croke Park on Saturday when Dublin begin their Allianz League campaign against Kerry.
Shane Carthy, a Dublin underage star under Dessie Farrell who last featured for the seniors under Jim Gavin in 2018, is keen for a county return and did his chances no harm with a solid display.
The Naomh Mearnog man and former All-Ireland minor winner scored a point and played in the ball that Garland won for the 34th minute penalty that Bannigan converted, albeit with a follow up effort after his first shot was blocked.
Dublin superstar Con O'Callaghan looked on from the sidelines at the St Clare's grounds with an apparent injury and was a considerable loss.
UCD got numbers behind the ball early on in an attempt to contain DCU who drew a series of fouls to open up a 0-4 to 0-2 lead with all of the hosts' points coming frees, Garland and the Bannigan converting.
Small then curled over a beauty from the left endline off his right foot and with ex-AFL player Ray Connellan sin-binned for UCD in the minutes either side of half-time, DCU pushed on for a 0-7 to 0-2 interval lead.
DCU scored 1-3 in total to UCD's 0-1 in the period while Connellan was off the pitch with Bannigan's goal from the penalty coming early in the second-half.
Gary Walsh's 31st minute point from a free was UCD's only score in the second-half.
DCU opened up with some excellent football and reeled off 1-8 without reply throughout the half with Garland score 0-4 from play and Small kicking two excellent scores from the left wing.
It was far tighter in the other semi-final where Michael Murphy's Letterkenny IT were dramatically overcome by an IT Carlow outfit with Laois legend Pat Critchley on the sideline.
The Donegal side scored the last three points of the first-half to take a 0-5 to 0-4 lead into the interval but it was late on when the game really came alive.
Letterkenny had trailed by four points at one stage with time running out only to wipe that deficit out entirely when Caoimhin Marley netted to level it at 1-9 apiece before a late, late fisted Carlow goal that ultimately separated the teams.
Paul Farrelly played the ball across the goals and Kildare man Steed was there at the back post to get a fist to it, breaking the hearts of Letterkenny IT who lost Darragh Black to a red card for two bookings early in the second-half.
Scoers for DCU: David Garland 0-7 (3fs), Micheal Bannigan 1-2 (1-0 pen, 2fs), Paddy Small 0-3, Evan Comerford 0-2 (1f, 145), Shane Carthy 0-1.
Scorers for UCD: Conor Hartley 0-1, Ray Connellan 0-1 (f), Gary Walsh 0-1 (f).
DCU: Evan Comerford; Conor Morrison, Brendan McCole, Daniel Corcoran; Kevin Flynn, Jordan Morrissey, Declan Monaghan; Sean McMahon, Shane Carthy; Brian Stack, Micheal Bannigan, Sean Bugler; David Garland, Paddy Small, Thomas E Donohoe.
Subs: Tom Fox for Donohoe (42), Kieran Dwyer for Corcoran (55), Stephen Smith for Monaghan (55), Mark Curran for Bannigan (55), Cian McKeon for Small (59).
UCD: Gary O'Rourke; Martin O'Connor, Mike Breen, Liam Flatman; Kieran Kennedy, Ryan O'Toole, Stephen Coen; Barry Dan O'Sullivan, Peadar O Cofaigh Byrne; Barry McGinn, Cillian O'Shea, Luke Fortune; Conor Hartley, Ray Connellan, Gary Walsh.
Subs: Ruairi McCormack for Fortune (29), Conor Moriarty for McGinn (h/t), Fiarchra Clifford for Walsh (47), Sean Egan for Fortune (47).
REFEREE: Cormac Reilly (Meath).