Denis Hurley reports from Mallow
UL EVENTUALLY SAW off a stout DCU challenge in Mallow today to claim a third Fitzgibbon Cup title in five years.
Having trailed by 1-6 to 0-6 at one stage in the first half, Gary Kirby’s side responded well to lead by 1-11 to 1-9 at half-time and they edged clear before a second goal, by Pat Ryan in the closing stages, made sure of victory.
Despite being strong favourites with the bookmakers, UL were made to work hard for this win against the competition’s bolters. Playing with the considerable breeze, DCU had the opening score through Peter Hogan and in the third minute they almost had the boost of a goal as Paudie Foley’s pass gave Patrick Curran a chance but he was hooked by Gearóid Hegarty and then Rian McBride’s follow-up shot was saved by David McCarthy.
When UL responded with four points – two from Jason Forde, who finished with 1-10 – it seemed like they were living up to the pre-match billing but John Donnelly, Conor Delaney and Donal Burke had DCU level.
UL led by 0-6 to 0-5 when John Donnelly was fouled for a penalty, which Patrick Curran netted, and then Joe O’Connor put them three ahead after linking well with midfield partner Darren Mullen.
But UL rallied they hit the front, 1-9 to 1-7, after Tom Morrissey’s ball found Barry Murphy, who did well to feed John McGrath and his pass was perfect to Forde to drill home and they pushed two ahead by half-time.
While Burke was on hand to reduce the gap on the resumption, DCU missed the presence of O’Connor, who had had to go off injured, and UL scored five of he next six points, with Forde’s free-taking imperious.
In the 53rd minute, McGrath set up sub Pat Ryan to fire home a second UL goal and though Conor Bourke did have a late green flag for DCU, the gap was too large to bridge.
Scorers for UL: Jason Forde 1-10 (0-8 frees, 0-1 65), Pat Ryan 1-0, John McGrath, Kevin O’Brien, David Fitzgerald, Ronan Lynch 0-2 each, Tony Kelly, Gearóid Hegarty, Ian Galvin 0-1 each.
Scorers for DCU: Donal Burke 0-9 (0-7 frees), Patrick Curran (penalty), Conor Bourke 1-0 each, Killian Doyle, Joe O’Connor, Conor Delaney, Peter Hogan, John Donnelly, Darren Mullen 0-1 each.
1. David McCarthy (Limerick)
2. Aidan McGuane (Clare)
3. Conor Cleary (Clare)
4. Seán Finn (Limerick)
6. Barry Heffernan (Tipperary)
5. Gearóid Hegarty (Limerick)
7. David Fitzgerald (Clare)
8. Tony Kelly (Clare)
19. Ronan Lynch (Limerick)
10. Ian Galvin (Clare)
11. Kevin O’Brien (Limerick)
12. Tom Morrissey (Limerick)
13. John McGrath (Tipperary)
14. Jason Forde (Tipperary)
15. Barry Murphy (Limerick)
25. Michael Casey (Limerick) for McGuane (36)
18. Pat Ryan (Limerick) for O’Brien (47)
21. David Gleeson (Tipperary) for Murphy (57)
17. Brian Troy (Kilkenny) for Finn (59)
23. Jordan Henley (Waterford) for Fitzgerald (60)
1. Oisín Foley (Wexford)
4. Conor McSweeney (Limerick)
3. Eoghan O’Donnell (Dublin)
24. Paul O’Dea (Dublin)
5. Aaron Maddock (Wexford)
6. Conor Delaney (Kilkenny)
7. Paudie Foley (Wexford)
9. Joe O’Connor (Wexford)
2. Darren Mullen (Kilkenny)
21. Fergal Whitely (Dublin)
14. Rian McBride (Dublin)
12. Donal Burke (Dublin)
13. John Donnelly (Kilkenny)
22. Peter Hogan (Waterford)
15. Patrick Curran (Waterford)
8. Daire Grey (Dublin) for O’Connor (30, injured)
11. Killian Doyle (Westmeath) for Hogan (36)
30. Eoghan Conroy (Dublin) for Foley (47)
10. Conor Bourke (Dublin) for Whitely (51)
Referee: Fergal Horgan (Tipperary)
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