Source: Lorraine O'Sullivan/INPHO
Mary Immaculate College 2-12
Fintan O’Toole reports from DCU Sportsground
A FRENETIC FINALE saw home side DCU notch the crucial points to book a passage to the semi-finals of the Fitzgibbon Cup tonight as they thwarted the three-in-a-row ambitions of reigning champions Mary Immaculate College.
The kingpins for the last two years had come from four points down entering the final quarter to roar back into contention with Cork’s Luke Meade and Clare’s Gary Cooney raising white flags for them to bring the sides level in injury-time.
But DCU removed the prospect of extra-time from the equation when Westmeath’s Killian Doyle, who shone when introduced as a substitute, clipped over his third point of the night and then another replacement Conor Burke nailed the insurance point soon after.
Victory propels DCU into a semi-final against UCD or Dublin IT, who face off in Belfield tomorrow night, with Dublin’s Donal Burke top scoring for them tonight with 0-8 while Wexford’s Joe O’Connor and Doyle weighed in with tallies of 0-3 apiece.
Mary Immaculate were hampered by the absence of Limerick’s Aaron Gillane from their attack due to injury but Micheál O’Loughlin deputised by firing 1-5 and he grabbed a goal after only five minutes when set up by Gary Cooney.
DCU were 0-4 to 1-1 to the good by the close of the first quarter thanks to a quartet of Donal Burke frees and although Mary Immaculate drew level, DCU edged ahead 0-8 to 1-3 at the break thanks to points from Conor Delaney and Burke.
DCU stamped their authority on the third quarter as they outscored Mary Immaculate 0-6 to 0-4 but the reigning champions refused to quit and their spirits were lifted when goalkeeper Eoghan Cahill came upfield to slam a penalty to the net after Colin Guilfoyle was fouled.
A couple of inspirational points from Cian Lynch and Colm Stapleton edged them into a narrow lead entering the final ten minutes. The advantage swung between the teams in the closing stages but after Cooney looked to have secured a draw for Mary Immaculate, DCU popped up with a crucial pair of last-gasp scores.
Scorers for DCU: Donal Burke 0-8 (0-6f), Joe O’Connor, Killian Doyle 0-3 each, Rian McBride 0-2, Conor Delaney, Darren Mullen, Patrick Curran, Conor Burke 0-1 each.
Scorers for Mary Immmaculate: Michéal O’Loughlin 1-5 (0-5f), Eoghan Cahill 1-0 (1-0 pen), Cian Lynch, Gary Cooney 0-2 each, Brian Corry, Luke Meade, Colm Stapleton 0-1 each.
1. Oisin Foley (Crossabeg-Ballymurn, Wexford)
19. Darragh Brennan (Carrickschok, Kilkenny)
3. Eoghan O’Donnell (Whitehall Colmcille, Dublin)
24. Conor McSweeney (South Liberties, Limerick)
4. Aaron Maddock (St Martin’s, Wexford)
6. Conor Delaney (Erin’s Own, Kilkenny)
5. Paudie Foley (Crossabeg-Ballymurn, Wexford)
2. Darren Mullen (Ballyhale Shamrocks, Kilkenny)
7. Daire Grey (Whitehall Colmcille, Dublin)
14. Rian McBride (St Vincent’s, Dublin)
13. Fergal Whitely (Kilmacud Crokes, Dublin)
8. Joe O’Connor (St Martin’s, Wexford)
10. John Donnelly (Thomastown, Kilkenny)
15. Patrick Curran (Dungarvan, Waterford)
12. Donal Burke (Na Fianna, Dublin)
18. Killian Doyle (Raharney, Westmeath) for Donnelly (20)
21. Conor Burke (St Vincent’s, Dublin) for Whitely (41)
22. Peter Hogan (Ballygunner, Waterford) for Grey (51)
Mary Immaculate College
1. Eoghan Cahill (Birr, Offaly)
2. Chris McCullagh (Moycarkey-Borris, Tipperary)
26. Darragh Peters (Kilruane MacDonaghs, Tipperary)
30. Darren Browne (Kanturk, Cork)
6. Shane Taylor (Broadford, Clare)
14. Tim O’Mahony (Newtownshandrum, Cork)
3. David Prendergast (Lismore, Waterford)
8. James Mackey (Éire Óg Nenagh, Tipperary)
12. Pa Ryan (Newport Gaels, Tipperary)
19. Colin Guilfoyle (Newmarket-on-Fergus, Clare)
11. Cian Lynch (Patrickswell, Limerick)
9. Luke Meade (Newcestown, Cork)
13. Gary Cooney (O’Callaghan’s Mills, Clare)
24. Micheal O’Loughlin (Clonlara, Clare)
15. Brian Corry (Sixmilebridge, Clare)
4. Colm Stapleton (Borris-in-Ossory Kilcotton, Laois) for Mackey (45)
18. Michael Corry (Clare) for Corry (58)
Referee: James McGrath (Westmeath)