John Fallon reports at Belfield
DIT CAME FROM behind in the final quarter to qualify for the Fitzgibbon Cup semi-finals for the first time, when they edged out a fancied UCD side in Belfield.
DIT will now meet neighbours DCU in semi-finals next week after Niall O’Brien led the way with an 11-point haul.
The sides were level seven times in the opening half, but with DJ Foran in excellent form for UCD, they pulled away to lead by 0-11 to 0-8 at the interval.
The Waterford star accounted for nine of UCD’s points with seven of them coming from frees. The impressive James Maher at midfielder and Seamus Flanagan got their other scores.
Westmeath’s O’Brien scored half of DIT’s opening half tally, with two of his four points coming from frees, and one from a ’65.
His Westmeath colleague Niall Mitchell got two points while Kilkenny’s Liam Blanchfield scored the point of the half with a superb effort from the left wing.
The sides continued to trade points after the restart but the UCD attack struggled to make headway against a resolute DIT defence, and they were far too dependent on Foran for scores.
O’Brien continued to punish any indiscipline and points from Fiontan McGibb and Robbie Greville tied the sides at 0-13 to 0-13, ten minutes into the second-half.
O’Brien then edged DIT in front before two long range points from Foran gave UCD a slender lead going into the final quarter.
But it was DIT who pushed on from there and three more frees from O’Brien, left them leading by two points with eight minutes left.
A Tadhg de Búrca point from distance cut the gap again to the minimum, but another free from O’Brien cancelled that out.
And then Luke Scanlon set up an exciting finish when he reduced the margin to one going into stoppage time. However it was DIT who finished in style with a point from a superb sideline by Conor Ryan.
Scorers for DIT: Niall O’Brien 0-11 (0-9f, 0-1 65), Niall Mitchell 0-2, Conor Ryan 0-1 (0-1 sl), Liam Blanchfield 0-1, Robbie Greville 0-1, Fiontan McGibb 0-1, Jonathan McGuirke 0-1, Niall Walsh 0-1.
Scorers for UCD: DJ Foran 0-13 (0-9f), James Maher 0-1, Seamus Flanagan 0-1, Tadhg de Burca 0-1, Luke Scanlon 0-1.
1. Paddy McKenna (Clane, Kildare)
2. Warren Kavanagh (Glenealy, Wicklow)
5. Thomas Doyle (Lough Lene Gaels, Westmeath)
4. Philip Cass (Conaghy Shamrocks, Kilkenny)
8. Eoghan Dunne (St Brigid’s, Dublin)
6. Derek McNicholas (Lough Lene Gaels, Westmeath)
7. Luke Kelly (Setanta, Dublin)
19. Jonathan McGuirke (St Brigid’s, Dublin)
14. Robbie Greville (Raharney, Westmeath)
10. Niall Mitchell (Clonkill, Westmeath)
11. Patrick Maher (Lorrha Dorrha, Tipperary)
15. Fiontan McGibb (Setanta, Dublin)
13. Niall O’Brien (Castletown Geoghan, Westmeath)
12. Liam Blanchfield (Bennettsbridge, Kilkenny)
9. Conor Ryan (Craobh Chiaráin, Dublin)
24. Niall Walsh (Windgap, Kilkenny) for Phelan (30)
1. Darragh Hughes (Naomh Eanna, Wexford)
2. Brian Quigley (Rathnure, Wexford)
3. Rob Lennon (Danesfort, Kilkenny)
4. Gary Molloy (Naomh Eanna, Wexford)
5. Michael Cody (Dunnamaggin, Kilkenny)
6. Tadgh de Burca (Clashmore-Kinsalebeg, Waterford)
7. Padraic Guinan (Drumcullen, Offaly)
8. James Maher (Erin’s Own, Kilkenny)
9. John Joe Ryan (Clonakenny, Tipperary)
10. DJ Foran (Portlaw, Waterford)
11. Darren Codd (St Martin’s, Wexford)
22. Jack Mullaney (Stradbally, Waterford)
13. Seamus Flanagan (Feohanagh-Castlemahon, Limerick)
14. Tom Phelan (Thomastown, Kilkenny)
15. Paul O’Connor (Clashmore-Kinsalebeg, Waterford)
25. Luke Scanlon (James Stephens, Kilkenny) for O’Connor (40)
17. Rory Purcell (Thurles Sarsfields, Tipperary) for Lennon (50)
Referee: Paud O’Dwyer (Carlow).
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