UCC win Peard Cup for second time at sodden Garryduff

** This article originally appeared in the Irish Examiner

Peard Cup final
UCC 4 (S Jermyn, S Grace, E Finnegan, G Healy) Cork C of I 3 (M Gallagher 2, S Webster)

UCC eventually pulled clear of Cork C of I B to land their second Peard Cup title in three seasons as Glenn Healy’s 56th minute deflection finally put them out of range.

They did so at a sleet-addled Garryduff with the wet and sleety conditions requiring a hasty change of pitch from the water-logged main pitch to the upper sand-based.

UCC’s Sam Grace during the Peard Cup final. (click for more pictures)

The slower surface, perhaps, acted as something of a levelling agent and UCC found the tie far tougher than their league meeting which they won at a canter 5-1 earlier in the campaign.

This time, with the ballast of Richie Dorman and Ken Twomey in midfield, C of I got off to a flyer with Mark Gallagher breaking the deadlock in the eighth minute from a penalty corner.

Stephen Jermyn equalised quickly with some sharp reactions to clean up off Peter Coulter’s pads following Shrew Power’s slap at goal.

Gallagher restored the C of I lead from a second corner in the 24th minute – two from two for him – before Sam Grace, UCC’s key player, fired home via the same method to make it 2-2 at half-time.

Eoin Finnegan, a Kilkenny native like Grace, restored UCC’s lead early in the second half with an excellent turn at the top of the D, coupled with a shot to the bottom corner. Plenty of sin-binnings followed with Cork C of I bearing the brunt of them for the most part as they spent much of the half on the back foot.

And there was no chance of a recovery when Power produced some brilliant work on the right wing to pump into the circle. Healy’s out-stretched stick put daylight between the sides for the first time with 14 minutes to go.

From there, UCC were reasonably in control barring Shane Webster’s last ditch consolation goal. It continued the students productive campaign to date, adding to their intervarsities Mauritius Plate success.

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