Dublin: 13°C Saturday 31 July 2021

Declan Hannon points key as Mary I grind out Fitzgibbon win over LIT

Mary I advance to their first Fitzgibbon Cup final since 2013.

Mary Immaculate College 0-11
Limerick IT 0-9

Fintan O’Toole reports from Cork IT

DECLAN HANNON’S ACCURACY from placed balls in the second-half proved key as Mary Immaculate College triumphed over Limerick IT in today’s second Fitzgibbon Cup semi-final at Cork IT’s grounds.

David Reidy and Eoin Quirke LIT's David Reidy and Mary Immaculate's Eoin Quirke battle for possession. Source: Lorraine O'Sullivan/INPHO

In a tough and low-scoring battle played in wet conditions, Mary I just did enough to grind out a victory.

Eamonn Cregan’s side now advance to tomorrow’s decider where they will hope to claim their first Fitzgibbon Cup title. It will be only Mary Immaculate’s second final appearance, three years after they lost out to UCC by five points in Galway.

Having been in front by four points – 0-6 to 0-2 – at the interval, they were grateful to four points from placed balls in the second-half by Limerick senior Hannon to edge out this clash.

Davy Fitzgerald’s LIT outfit battled strongly to the finish but could not draw level and were left to rue missing several chances in the opening period from both frees and play.

Davy Fitzgerald Limerick IT boss Davy Fitzgerald Source: Lorraine O'Sullivan/INPHO

LIT struck the opening point of the game courtesy of Alan Dempsey but Mary Immaculate quickly settled and bagged three points as Colm Galvin, Niall O’Meara and Darragh O’Donovan raised white flags.

It was 0-3 to 0-1 in favour of Mary I in the 7th minute but neither side troubled the scoreboard operator for another 16 minutes. The play became extremely scrappy with the conditions a contributing factor and the wides totted up on both sides.

Eventually the scoring drought was broken thanks to Oisin O’Brien’s point for LIT in the 23rd minute before Mary I fashioned another charge before the interval through O’Donovan, Hannon and David Reidy.

David Dempsey tackles Andrew Ryan LIT's David Dempsey challenges Mary I's Andrew Ryan. Source: Lorraine O'Sullivan/INPHO

A late Peter Duggan free reduced the arrears for LIT at the break but the initiative was firmly with Mary I as they enjoyed a 0-6 to 0-3 advantage at the midway mark.

The exchanges were evenly contested in the third quarter with Byrnes landing a brace for LIT and Hannon converting a free for Mary I.

Clinging to a 0-7 to 0-5 lead, Mary I accelerated clear in the final quarter thanks to a brace from Hannon and a fine score by Ronan Maher who benefitted from superb vision by Colm Galvin.

Willie Ryan and Darragh Corry Mary I's Darragh Corry reaches for the ball under pressure from LIT's Willie Ryan Source: Lorraine O'Sullivan/INPHO

Mary I looked to have the contest sealed with a 0-10 to 0-6 lead before LIT countered thanks to Byrnes and Duggan.

They couldn’t draw level however with Tipperary’s Seamus Kennedy winning a vital free for Mary I in injury-time and Hannon landed the insurance point.

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Scorers for Mary Immaculate: Declan Hannon 0-5 (0-4f, 0-1 ’65), Darragh O’Donovan 0-2, Ronan Maher, Colm Galvin, Niall O’Meara, David Reidy 0-1 each.

Scorers for Limerick IT: Diarmaid Byrnes 0-4 (0-2f, 0-1 ’65), Peter Duggan 0-2, Oisin O’Brien, Paul Killeen, Alan Dempsey 0-1 each.

Eamonn Cregan Mary Immaculate manager Eamonn Cregan Source: Lorraine O'Sullivan/INPHO

Mary Immaculate College

1. Maidhc O Conghaile (Micheal Breathnach, Galway)

2. Eoin Quirke (Whitegate, Clare)
3. Richie English (Doon, Limerick)
4. Andrew Ryan (Toomevara, Tipperary)

5. Ronan Maher (Thurles Sarsfields, Tipperary)
6. Thomas Stapleton (Templederry Kenyons, Tipperary)
7. John Meagher (Loughmore-Castleiney, Tipperary)

8. Colm Galvin (Clonlara, Clare)
9. Darragh O’Donovan (Doon, Limerick)

17. Sean Linnane (Turloughmore, Galway)
11. Cian Lynch (Patrickswell, Limerick)
15. Darragh Corry (Tulla, Clare)

13. David Reidy (Dromin-Athlacca, Limerick)
14. Declan Hannon (Adare, Limerick)
10. Niall O’Meara (Kilruane McDonaghs, Tipperary)

28. Seamus Kennedy (St Mary’s, Tipperary) for O’Donovan (45)
27. Tadhg Gallagher (Kildangan, Tipperary) for Reidy (45)
12. Stephen Cahill (Thurles Sarsfields, Tipperary) for Linnane (51)
18. Mickey O’Neill (Kilmaley, Clare) for O’Meara (58)

Limerick IT

1. Eibhear Qulligan (Feakle, Clare)

2. Niall O’Connor (Newmarket-on-Fergus, Clare)
3. Kieran Bennett (Ballysaggart, Waterford)
10. Paul Killeen (Tynagh-Abbey-Duniry, Galway)

5. Willie Ryan (Clonakenny, Tipperary)
13. Jamie Shanahan (Sixmilebridge, Clare)
8. Diarmaid Byrnes (Patrickswell, Limerick)

6. Cathal Barrett (Holycross-Ballycahill, Tipperary)
7. Oisin O’Brien (Clonlara, Clare)

24. Alan Dempsey (Na Piarsaigh, Limerick)
14. Niall Maher (Doon, Limerick)
25. David Dempsey (Na Piarsaigh, Limerick)

15. Michael O’Malley (Kilmaley, Clare)
9. David Reidy (Éire Óg, Clare)
11. Peter Duggan (Clooney-Quin, Clare)

12. Joe Campion (Borris Kilcotton, Laois) for Maher (44)
20. Shane Gleeson (Cratloe, Clare) for David Dempsey (51)
18. Willie Connors (Kildangan, Tipperary) for O’Malley (51)

Referee: Diarmuid Kirwan (Cork)

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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