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Limerick's Gillane strikes 1-12 as Mary I defeat NUIG to set up Fitzgibbon Cup final against UCC

A three-point win for the 2016 and 2017 champions in today’s semi-final in Ennis.

Mary Immaculate College 1-18
NUI Galway 0-18

Páraic McMahon reports from Cusack Park, Ennis

LEVEL ON FIVE occasions in the opening half and four in the second, All-Ireland winner Aaron Gillane ultimately proved to be the difference today as the two time champions Mary Immaculate secured an Electric Ireland Fitzgibbon Cup final date with UCC.

Aaron Gillane Aaron Gillane was the scoring star in Ennis today. Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

With one hundred percent accuracy from frees on the day, Gillane also leaped up with some vital catches from puckouts to set up several scoring opportunities for his side.

It was a Gillane penalty that separated the sides at half-time. Clare’s Colin Guilfoyle was brought down inside the 21m line and the resulting penalty went under Shane Hennessy to give Mary I a two point advantage at the break, 1-8 to 0-9. Prior to that Jeffrey Lynksey’s NUIG were in control having only trailed at the beginning and end of the half.

Three Evan Niland scores in succession saw NUIG equalise as the shooting battle between Gillane and his Clarinbridge counterpart continued. As the game entered the final quarter, white flags from Luke Meade, Colin Guilfoyle and Gary Cooney provided a timely boost for the Limerick college.

Evan Niland 0-13 for Galway's Evan Niland this afternoon. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

NUIG did reduce the deficit to the three points and a Brian Concannon goal was ruled out at the death as it was deemed to be a square ball while Eoghan Cahill pulled off an excellent save to deny Darragh Burke a certain goal.

NUIG will be cursing the concession of the first half penalty as it turned the game on its head, they will also lament their seven wides and two missed goal chances in the second half. Had they tested Mary I’s defence in certain sectors, they could be facing into their first final since 2010.

In what was Mary I’s toughest test of the 2019 Fitzgibbon Cup, they managed to get over the line. Darren Browne has been their best player in the competition and he was deployed to mark Conor Whelan which he duly did, limiting the Galway man to a single point.

His absence from the half-back line was felt but fortunately for Jamie Wall’s men, the exploits of Aaron Gillane at the other end secured their spot in the decider.

Scorers for Mary Immaculate: Aaron Gillane 1-12 (0-7f, 1-0 pen, 0-1 sideline cut), Colin O’Brien 0-2, Thomas Monaghan, Luke Meade, Colin Guilfoyle, Gary Cooney 0-1 each.

Scorers for NUI Galway: Evan Niland 0-13 (0-10f), Brian Concannon 0-2, Conor Whelan, Sean Kennedy, Liam Forde 0-1 each.

Mary Immaculate College

1. Eoghan Cahill (Birr, Offaly)

3. David Prendergast (Lismore, Waterford)
6. Darren Browne (Kanturk, Cork)
2. Eoghan Ryan (Cappawhite Gaels, Tipperary)

5. Craig Morgan (Kilruane MacDonaghs, Tipperary)
4. Seamus Downey (Clonlara, Clare)
7. Thomas Grimes (Na Piarsaigh, Limerick)

15. Phillip Hickey (Nenagh Éire Óg, Tipperary)
9. Luke Meade (Newcestown, Cork)

10. Aaron Gillane (Patrickswell, Limerick)
8. Thomas Monaghan (Craughwell, Galway)
12. Colin O’Brien (Liscarroll, Cork)

13. Gary Cooney (O’Callaghans Mills, Clare)
14. Colin Guilfoyle (Newmarket-on-Fergus, Clare)
11. Mícheál O’Loughlin (Clonlara, Clare)

Subs

28. Ray McCormack (Borris-Ileigh, Tipperary) for O’Loughlin (40)
20. Sean Burke (Grenagh, Cork) for O’Brien (52)
19. Brian Buckley (Dromina, Cork) for Cooney (58)

NUI Galway

1. Shane Hennessy (Nenagh Éire Óg, Tipperary)

2. Andrew Greaney (Craughwell, Galway)
3. Jack Fitzpatrick (Killimordaly, Galway)
7. Declan Connolly (Killimordaly, Galway)

5. Sean Loftus (Turloughmore, Galway)
4. Conor Caulfield (Kilconieron, Galway)
6. Paul Hoban (Loughrea, Galway)

8. Ian Fox (Sarsfields, Galway)
9. Brian Concannon (Killimordaly, Galway)

12. Mikey Lynch (Kilnadeema Leitrim, Galway)
14. Liam Forde (Ardrahan, Galway)
10. Sean Kennedy (Kilmaley, Clare)

13. Conor Sheedy (Roscrea, Tipperary)
11. Conor Whelan (Kinvara, Galway)
15. Evan Niland (Clarinbridge, Galway)

Subs

24. Darragh Burke (St Thomas, Galway) for Lynch (26)
19. Brian Corry (Sixmilebridge, Clare) for Greaney (HT)
20. Sam McArdle (Clarinbridge, Galway) for Fox (35)
17. Shane Fletcher (Roscrea, Tipperary) for Kennedy (51)

Referee: Johnny Ryan (Tipperary)

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About the author:

Páraic McMahon

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