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0-12 for NUIG's Niland but Conway's 0-7 tally helps UCC to win Fitzgibbon Cup opener

A two-point success today for the champions in Dangan.

Free-takers Evan Niland and Shane Conway impressed today.
Free-takers Evan Niland and Shane Conway impressed today.
Image: INPHO

UCC 0-19
NUI Galway 0-17

Declan Rooney reports from Dangan

FITZGIBBON CUP CHAMPIONS UCC left it late but a strong final quarter and Shane Conway’s free taking got them over the line against NUI Galway in Dangan.

Evan Niland landed a dozen points from placed balls as NUI Galway fought back after they trailed by two at the break to lead in the second half, but Mark Coleman and David Griffin hit big points for UCC, while Conway pointed a late penalty to make sure of the win in the opener in Group C of the Electric Ireland Fitzgibbon Cup.

UCC were slow to find their rhythm in Dangan and the home side took full advantage. A Niland free after two minutes got NUI Galway up and running, while Paul Hoban’s long range score was followed quickly by Ian Fox’s effort which put the Galway side three ahead.

Boasting a powerful half forward line UCC soon good back into the game though. Robbie O’Flynn landed their first when Shane Hurley picked him out with a puckout before the impressive Conor Boylan and Kerry’s Conway also found the target.

Those three scores started UCC on a run of seven unanswered points between the seventh and 17th minutes, and it seemed that they would continue to dominate, but back-to-back missed frees from Conway and Paddy O’Loughlin seemed to lift NUI Galway.

Evan Niland slotted a lovely free from the left to end 12 scoreless minutes for NUI Galway, and he added two more to put the minimum between the sides as half time approached.

With Sean Loftus operating as a sweeper in front of his full back line NUI Galway showed well in defence for the most part, but Boylan and Michael O’Halloran were constantly a threat. O’Loughlin and Conway made up for their missed free by converting placed balls, but the Galway side hit two more before the interval to only trail by 0-10 to 0-8 at half-time.

NUI Galway came with a powerful start to the second half and turned the game on its head. Niland scored a free and a 65 to level the scores by the 64th minute, before substitute Michael Lynch then gave them the lead with a great score from the right. They would never lead after that though, and a powerful run from Coleman produced a score, before Conway levelled the game again in the 42nd minute.

Lifted by those two points UCC hit another four without reply to lead by four entering the final quarter, but again NUI Galway hit back. Three Niland frees and Sean Kennedy’s score put one between the teams, but once Conway tapped over a late penalty that proved sufficient.

Scorers for UCC: Shane Conway 0-7 (0-4f, 0-1pen), Paddy O’Loughlin 0-2 (2f), Michael O’Halloran 0-2, David Griffin 0-2, Conor Boylan 0-1, Robbie O’Flynn 0-1, Billy Hennessy 0-1, Mark Coleman 0-1, Andrew Casey 0-1, Mark Kehoe 0-1.

Scorers for NUI Galway: Evan Niland 0-12 (11f, 1’65), Ian Fox 0-2, Paul Hoban 0-1, Michael Lynch 0-1, Sean Kennedy 0-1.

UCC

1. Shane Hurley (St Finbarr’s Cork)

2. David Lowney (Clonakilty, Cork)
3. Eoghan Murphy (Sarsfields, Cork)
4. David Griffin (Carrigaline, Cork)

5. Mark Coleman (Blarney, Cork)
6. Paddy O’Loughlin (Kilmallock, Limerick)
7. Niall O’Leary (Castlelyons, Cork)

8. Andrew Casey (Ballyduff Upper, Waterford)
17. Darragh Fitzgibbon (Charleville, Cork)

9. Billy Hennessy (St Finbarr’s, Cork)
10. Robbie O’Flynn (Erins Own, Cork)
12. Shane Conway (Lixnaw, Kerry)

11. Conor Boylan (Na Piarsaigh, Limerick)
13. Michael O’Halloran (Blackrock, Cork)
14. Shane Kingston (Douglas, Cork)

Subs

15. Mark Kehoe (Kilsheelan-Kilcash, Tipperary) for O’Halloran (5-7 blood)
24. Ronan Connolly (Adare, Limerick) for Griffin (28-30+4 blood)
15. Kehoe for O’Flynn (41)
24. Connolly for Hennessy (42)
19. Paddy Cadell (JK Brackens, Tipperary) for Casey (53)

NUI Galway

1. Sean Manogue (James Stephens, Kilkenny)

4. Caimin Killeen (Loughrea, Galway)
3. Jack Fitzpatrick (Killimordaly, Galway)
7. Kevin Hussey (Turloughmore, Galway)

8. Sean Loftus (Turloughmore, Galway)

24. Andrew Greaney (Craughwell, Galway)
6. Paul Hoban (Loughrea, Galway)
5. Daniel Loftus (Turloughmore, Galway)

9. Ian Fox (Sarsfields, Galway)
13. Shane Fletcher (Roscrea, Tipperary)

10. Cillian Lawless (Athenry, Galway)
11. John Fleming (Meelick-Eyrecourt, Galway)
12. Brian Concannon (Killimordaly, Galway)

14. Evan Niland (Clarinbridge, Galway)
15. Conor Elwood (Liam Mellowes, Galway)

Subs

20. Michael Lynch (Kilnadeema-Leitrim, Galway) for Lawless (half-time),
19. Liam Forde (Ardrahan, Galway) for Elwood (38)
21. Mark Gill (Castlegar, Galway) for Greaney (42)
22. Sean Kennedy (Kilmaley, Clare) for Fletcher (44)

Referee: Johnny Murphy (Limerick)

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About the author:

Declan Rooney

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