NUI Galway are into their first Electric Ireland Sigerson Cup final in fifteen years after a three-point win over DIT in Mullingar. The final score was 2-12 to 0-15.
In 2003 NUIG overcame UCD in the final, in a game that saw a young Galway star fire his side to glory with 1-04, including two side-line scores. That player's name was Michael Meehan.
NUIG have a new intercounty star leading their forward line as full-forward and Galway captain Damien Comer also captains the college side. Comer finished with a point from play in this semifinal.
— nuigalwaygaa (@nuiggaa1) February 14, 2018
DIT were handed a big boost prior to the game as Dublin footballer Brian Howard made his first start in the tournament. Howard grabbed the Dublin side's opening score of the game after a strong NUIG start saw them roar into a 2-point lead.
In foul conditions, Galway's Sean Kelly struck a killer goal just before half-time but DIT refused to die, instead tearing into the second-half to pull back level thanks to some fine work from Conor Loftus.
However, an Eoin Finnerty sucker-blow killed their momentum when the lively substitute fired past Lee Stacey with just ten minutes remaining.
The one downside for NUIG heading into Saturday's final is that Kieran Molloy, who came off the bench and slotted a nice score, will not be available as he is involved with Corofin in the club All-Ireland semifinal.
Speaking to Balls.ie after the game, NUIG goalkeeper Tadhg O'Malley was thrilled with the end result.
Ah it's a great feeling to be honest, we've had a few hiccups along the way in losing Cillian Mcdaid to the AFL and Mike Daly to injury earlier in the year. But we've a good team spirit and just focused on playing one game at a time! We've faced some brilliant sides so far and DIT pushed us all the way.
O'Malley, who kept a clean-sheet for the second game in a row, was delighted to share the win with his Leitir Móir clubmate.
It's a massive occasion for us all, it's been 15 years since the college got this far! On a personal note, it's a great feeling to get this far with a club mate (Evan O Flaherty). We've come a long way since learning how to solo a football on The Maumeen when we were young lads! But sure look at the end of the day it's just another game and hopefully we can get the job done against what we know are a very accomplished outfit in UCD.
NUIG's great run in the campaign has been aided by a backdown of talented local players like O'Malley, Comer, Molloy, Moycullen's Peter Cooke, Enda Tierney and Sean Kelly. With the senior footballers also faring well in Division One, it seems Galway football is on the rise.
Galway football going great guns. Galway three from three in the NFL, Corofin in an All-Ireland semi-final and now NUIG into first Sigerson Cup decider in 15 years!
— Daragh Small (@daraghs0) February 14, 2018
— Damien Comer (@DamoComer) February 14, 2018
— Francis Regan (@francisregan2) February 14, 2018
NUIG will face UCD in the Electric Ireland Sigerson Cup final, who overcame UUJ in the other semifinal.
The Electric Ireland Sigerson, Fitzgibbon and Higher Education Championships. Taking rivalries to the next level. #FirstClassRivals