FOOTBALL: HEC Yoplait Championships wrap
Compiled by Daragh Small (Hannah Noone of NUIG in action against Erika O’Shea of UL during the Yoplait LGFA O’Connor Cup Semi-Final match between UL, Limerick and NUIG, Galway at DCU Dóchas Éireann Astro Pitch in Dublin. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile)
UCC manager John Cleary praised the heroics of his ‘underdogs’ as they set up a Yoplait O’Connor Cup final against holders UL today.
Hosts DCU Dóchas Éireann were the reigning Division 1 champions, and favourites, coming into this weekend but they slipped up in their semi-final.
Goals from Katie Quirke and Anna Carey helped UCC secure a 2-5 to 0-8 victory while UL beat NUI Galway 4-13 to 1-12.
Those results mean it will be a repeat of the 2017 decider when the two Munster outfits clash at the DCU Dóchas Éireann Sports Campus this afternoon (4pm).
“It would mean an awful lot, we have a lot of younger girls there and only one girl over 22. Sometimes we are punching above our weight and for this group of girls it would mean everything. We will give it our best shot and see where it takes us,” said Cleary.
“We lost Mary O’Connell and Fiona Keating coming up to it but in fairness to the girls that came in there, they left everything on the field.
“It was a fantastic win, we came up here as complete underdogs and our aim was to stay in it, quarter to quarter. We got two scrappy goals, nine times out of ten DCU would have beaten us but this was that one time out of ten.
“We are delighted to get to a final but there is no use in getting to a final if we cannot win it.”
DCU Dóchas Éireann were expected to give a strong account of themselves in the first Yoplait O’Connor Cup tie on Friday and they dominated the first quarter only to trail by 0-2 to 0-1 at the break.
That became 1-3 to 0-5 at half-time and despite 0-6 from the boot of TG4 All-Star Meath forward Emma Duggan, DCU Dóchas Éireann missed out on the opportunity to secure a spot in a home final.
Instead, UCC will look to end their ten-year wait when they face UL, having suffered a heavy defeat to the Limerick university in the group stages.
UL manager DJ Collins is prepared for another feracious battle against their Munster rivals after a comfortable win over NUI Galway.
UL were 0-9 to 0-8 ahead at half-time and goals from Ailish Morrissey, Hannah O’Donoghue, Erika O’Shea and Fiadhna Tangney sealed their place back in the final.
“We are where we want to be, when the girls stick to the game plan and keep it simple, it’s a simple game,” said Collins.
“We play UCC once or twice every year so we are well-used to each other. Laced with the Cork senior team, they will be well-drilled and well up for it. They know us as well as we know them and it’s going to be a battle.”
Elsewhere, MTU Cork were crowned Yoplait Moynihan Cup champions after a 3-10 to 2-11 win over LYIT yesterday.
There are three finals in total today in addition to the Yoplait O’Connor Cup decider, TU Dublin face Mary I in the Yoplait Giles Cup (2pm) while TUS Midlands take on St Mary’s Belfast in the Yoplait Lynch Cup (12pm).
2022 Yoplait Ladies HEC Championship results
Yoplait O’Connor Cup semi-final – UCC 2-5 DCU Dóchas Éireann 0-8
Yoplait O’Connor Cup semi-final – UL 4-13 NUI Galway 1-12
Yoplait Lynch Cup semi-final – TUS Midlands 2-14 MTU Kerry 4-7
Yoplait Lynch Cup semi-final – St Mary’s Belfast 4-4 IT Sligo 2-6
Yoplait Giles Cup semi-final – MICL 5-13 DCU Dóchas Éireann (2) 2-14
Yoplait Giles Cup semi-final – TU Dublin 2-17 Ulster University 3-7
Yoplait Moynihan Cup Final – MTU Cork 3-10 LYIT 2-11
Yoplait Lynch Cup Final – TUS Midlands v St Mary’s Belfast
Yoplait Giles Cup Final – MICL v TU Dublin
Yoplait O’Connor Cup Final – UL v UCC