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Dublin: 3 °C Thursday 17 January, 2019

Galway's Whelan hits two goals but Cooney's winner puts champs Mary I into Fitzgibbon Cup last eight

Mary I’s three-in-a-row hopes remain intact after a dramatic finale in Limerick.

Conor Whelan and Gary Cooney both hit key scores in the Fitzgibbon Cup today.
Conor Whelan and Gary Cooney both hit key scores in the Fitzgibbon Cup today.
Image: INPHO

Mary Immaculate College 1-20
NUI Galway 2-16

John Fallon reports from Mary Immaculate College, Limerick

FORMER CLARE MINOR Gary Cooney was the hero today as Fitzgibbon Cup champions Mary Immaculate snatched a last gasp victory to keep their hopes of a three-in-a-row alive.

NUIG, needing only a draw to advance, led by two points in injury-time but were caught by a late rally from the holders.

Limerick’s Aaron Gillane took his haul to 0-11 and then Cooney raced in to level the match.

Mary I had time for one final attack and in the third minute of injury-time Cooney gained possession and the O’Callaghan Mills clubman made enough room to fire over a dramatic winner from the left to book a quarter-final spot away to DCU.

Source: HE GAA/YouTube

It was heartbreaking for a NUIG side with three of Galway’s starting fifteen from the All-Ireland final in their ranks and while the Mannion brothers Padraic and Cathal made impressions, it was All-Star Conor Whelan who looked to have carried them to the knockout stages.

The Young Hurler of the Year struck for two cracking goals in the second half and finished with 2-3, but it wasn’t enough in the end.

Mary I, lining out without Na Piarsaigh’s Thomas Grimes, led by 0-6 to 0-3 after eleven minutes after Gillane landed five frees.

Three frees from Darragh Burke cut the gap to 0-7 to 0-6 after 19 minutes following a good point from the left by Cork’s Luke Meade.

Gillane was denied but Colin Guilfoyle pounced to drill home a goal after David Prendergast pointed and that put the reigning champions ahead by 1-8 to 0-6.

Efforts from Gary Cooney and Gillane ensured they turned around leading by five after two more frees from Burke kept NUIG in contention.

Whelan took over after the restart and was a constant threat, shooting home the equalizer with a quality strike to the net to tie the sides at 1-12 apiece going into the final quarter.

A run from Brian Concannon, who made his senior debut for Galway against Antrim at the weekend, set up Whelan for what seemed to be the clinching score when his goal made it 2-15 to 1-14 with six minutes left.

But the champions didn’t panic and when Gillane shredded the lead with a string of points, Cooney stepped forward to level and them shoot the score which keeps them in contention to become the first team since UCC in 1998 to win the Fitzgibbon Cup three years in a row, having won it for the first time in 2016.

Source: HE GAA/YouTube

Scorers for Mary Immaculate: Aaron Gillane 0-11 (0-10f, 01 ’65), Colin Guilfoyle 1-1, Gary Cooney 0-3, Eoghan Cahill (0-1f), David Prendergast, Luke Meade, Pa Ryan, Brian Corry 0-1 each.

Scorers for NUI Galway: Conor Whelan 2-3, Darragh Burke 0-9 (0-8f), Padraic Mannion, Brian Concannon, Aidan Helebert, Ronan Elwood 0-1 each.

Mary Immaculate College

1. Eoghan Cahill (Birr, Offaly)

2. Chris McCullagh (Moycarkey-Borris, Tipperary)
3. David Prendergast (Lismore, Waterford)
17. Sean Burke (Grenagh, Cork)

26. Darragh Peters (Kilruane McDonaghs, Tipperary)
6. Shane Taylor (Broadford, Clare)
14. Tim O’Mahony (Newtownshandrum, Cork)

8. James Mackey (Éire Óg Nenagh, Tipperary)
12. Pa Ryan  (Newport Gaels, Tipperary)

9. Luke Meade (Newcestown, Cork)
11. Cian Lynch (Patrickswell, Limerick)
19. Colin Guilfoyle (Newmarket-on-Fergus, Clare)

13. Gary Cooney (O’Callaghan’s Mills, Clare)
10. Aaron Gillane (Patrickswell, Limerick)
15. Brian Corry (Sixmilebridge, Clare)

NUI Galway

1. Shane Hennessy (Éire Óg Nenagh, Tipperary)

2. Barry Fitzpatrick (Sixmilebridge, Clare)
3. Conor Cosgrave (Ardrahan, Galway)
4. Ciaran O Connor (Kilnadeema-Leitrim, Galway)

5. Sean Loftus (Turloughmore, Galway)
6. Conor Ryan (Éire Óg Nenagh, Tipperary)
7. Padraic Mannion (Ahascragh-Fohenagh, Galway)

8. Brian Concannon (Killimordaly, Galway)
9. Shane Fletcher (Roscrea, Tipperary)

10. Cathal Mannion (Ahascragh-Fohenagh, Galway)
11. Darragh Burke (St Thomas, Galway)
17. Conor Whelan (Kinvara, Galway)

13. John Fox (Ahane, Limerick)
14. Michael Lynch (Kilnadeema-Leitrim, Galway)
15. Aidan Helebert (Gort, Galway)


18. Ronan Elwood  (Liam Mellows, Galway) for Helebert (36)
17. Gearoid Loughnane (Loughrea, Galway) for Fox (42)

Referee: Alfie Devine (Westmeath)

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John Fallon

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