Jack Kennedy who helped UCC to Sigerson Cup victory over St Mary's University Belfast in the final at Parnell Park, Dublin
With University College Cork’s victory over St Mary’s University Belfast in the Sigerson Cup final yesterday in O'Moore Park, Portlaoise, Tipperary’s Jack Kennedy collected his first football medal in this prestigious football competition.
The Clonmel Commercials midfielder played a full part in the 0-16 to 1-9 victory in the famed black and red of UCC, and joins an elite but growing band of Tipperary footballers to have picked up a coveted third level football medal in recent years.
The Skull and Crossbones had to survive a late challenge from the 2017 champions, St Mary’s, to capture their first crown in five years. The Ulster side, playing with a strong wind in the second half, had reduced a four points deficit to a single point when Aaron Boyle was dismissed in the 44th minute following a black card (he was earlier booked).
They did in fact get back to level the game 12 minutes from time but points from Sean O’Shea, Paudie Clifford, James Naughton, Garry Murphy and Conal Ó hAinfin saw UCC run out winners.
It was UCC’s first Sigerson Cup win since 2014 when another Clonmel Commercials and Tipperary star Michael Quinlivan was involved in the win at Queens University in Belfast when UCC defeated University of Ulster by 0-10 to 0-9.
Prior to Michaels Quinlivan’s part in that Sigerson Cup win, Tipperary players hadn’t featured too often in competition winning sides, but evident of the recent rise in the profile of Tipp football, a number of Premier County players have pocketed a hard-to-win Sigerson medal since then.
In 2015 Ballina’s Steven O’Brien, an All-Ireland minor medal winner alongside Quinlivan in 2011 when Tipp defeated Dublin, won his Sigerson medal when helping Dublin City University to victory over UCC. Indeed Jack Kennedy’s older brother, Colman, scored the winning goal against the Dubs on that never-to-be-forgotten day, when Tipperary were captained by current senior player Liam McGrath.
And since then Cahir’s Liam Casey (twice in 2016 and 2018, against DCU and NUI Galway) has helped UCD to Sigerson glory, accompanied last year on that winning team by Fethard’s Charlie Manton (goalkeeper) and Jimmy Feehan (Killenaule).
Ballina's Steven O'Brien a Sigerson Cup medal winner with DCU in 2015
It all goes to show the continued upward graph of Tipperary senior football and the respect and regard they are now being held up to at national level.
For now though, Jack Kennedy, Liam Casey, Jimmy Feehan and all the other Tipp players must turn to concentrate on Tipperary’s trip to Armagh on Sunday next for a vital Division 2 National Football League game with the Ulster side.