By Michael McMullan
QUEEN’S manager Conor Deegan was full of praise for attacking ace Luke Donnelly in what he felt was a deserved opening round win in this year’s Sigerson Cup.
The Eglish forward hit 1-2 as they reeled in city rivals Ulster University with four late points in a 1-12 to 1-11 win.
Ryan Magill’s goal had the visitors 1-6 to 0-5 ahead after 37 minutes before Donnelly finished to the net in the next play before firing over to level matters and was involved in two of the vital scores in the closing stages.
“The result was fantastic for us,” said Deegan who said Donnelly’s goal was of the game’s key moments.
“If that had dragged out to five, six, seven, ten minutes then they would’ve controlled the game.
“I thought at times we moved the ball well, especially when they were pushing forward we turned them over a few times.”
Deegan, an All-Ireland winner for Down both as a full-back and a midfielder, noted the input of Donnelly when Queen’s pressed forward to save the game when trailing by two points in the latter stages.
“The football was good but, for me, Luke Donnelly did especially well inside. He’s a small man but he won a couple of high balls that came in.
“It was a huge team effort and defensively, we were very solid for the vast majority of the game against a very good side. I would say they (Ulster) are slightly shocked I would’ve thought and we are probably a bit shocked ourselves to a degree. We played well and we thoroughly deserved the result, as far as I am concerned. I believe we played well and our boys maximised what we had.”
Next up for Queen’s is a Round 2A game against DCU next week with the winners advancing to the quarter-finals and the losers offered the safety of the final qualifying round.
Having spent 20 years living in Dublin where he was a championship winner with Kilmacud Crokes, Deegan has been in contact with Robbie Brennan about the progress of Paraic Purcell who came on in the dying embers of Sunday’s win over Kerin’s O’Rahillys
It was his 51st minute advanced mark that sparked Queen’s comeback on Tuesday night after replacing Lorcan McWilliams after 35 minutes.
“I’ll give Robbie a call to let him know how he (Purcell) got on,” said Deegan, who has used his contacts in the capital to suss out what is coming down the tracks next week.
“I was chatting to a guy Sean Fox, who is a Kilmacud man and they reckon it’s the best (DCU) team they have ever had. It is a step up for our boys and we got an awful pasting (7-26 to 0-9 quarter-final win) a few years ago when we went down to them.”