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Tipp's McGrath hits vital goals as UL qualify for Fitzgibbon Cup final

John McGrath exerted a vital influence in UL’s victory over UCD.

UL's John McGrath goes in to challenge UCD goalkeeper Darragh Holohan
UL's John McGrath goes in to challenge UCD goalkeeper Darragh Holohan
Image: Lorraine O'Sullivan/INPHO

UL 3-14
UCD 0-16

Fintan O’Toole reports from Cork IT

TIPPERARY SENIOR JOHN McGrath bagged two crucial goals and set up another as defending champions UL eventually overcame UCD to win today’s Fitzgibbon Cup semi-final at Cork IT.

Darragh Holohan and John McGrath UL's John McGrath goes in to challenge UCD goalkeeper Darragh Holohan Source: Lorraine O'Sullivan/INPHO

Trailing 0-9 to 0-7 at the interval, UL then conceded the opening point of the second-half to UCD freetaker Oisin O’Rorke.

But UL recovered from that 0-10 to 0-7 deficit to strike 1-5 without reply. The game changing score came from McGrath in the 43rd minute when he flicked a long-range free from Jason Forde to the net.

UL surged 1-12 to 0-10 clear by the 48th minute with Tipperary trio McGrath, Forde and substitute Tommy Heffernan all finding the range.

Source: HE GAA/YouTube

However UCD countered again with O’Rorke and Kilkenny’s James Maher reeling off four points without reply to cut the gap to the minimum, 1-12 to 0-14 with eight minutes remaining.

They couldn’t find a levelling score though and it proved costly when McGrath lashed home a fine left-hand shot to the net in the 56th minute.

Nicky English UCD manager Nicky English Source: Lorraine O'Sullivan/INPHO

Two minutes later he turned provider to set up Heffernan for a neat finish to the net and UL had moved out of sight of their battling opponents.

In the opening period UCD’s defensive structure was sound and apart from Tom Morrissey – the Limerick senior who finished with 0-4 from play – UL could not break them.

The teams were evenly matched early on when they were locked together at 0-4 apiece after the opening quarter but the UCD strung together three without reply as Maher, Eoin Conroy and O’Rorke split the posts.

Colm Cronin tackles Brian Stapleton UCD's Colm Cronin tackles UL's Brian Stapleton in today's semi-final Source: Lorraine O'Sullivan/INPHO

They still managed to keep UL at arm’s length to enjoy a 0-9 to 0-7 interval advantage but the game swung in UL’s direction in the second-half.

Jason Forde’s influence at centre-back grew considerably while McGrath, Morrissey and substitute Heffernan all made a greater impression as Brian Lohan’s side picked off 3-7 in the second-half.

Cian O'Callaghan tackles Tommy Heffernan UL's Tommy Heffernan cuts through the UCD defence Source: Lorraine O'Sullivan/INPHO

Scorers for UL: John McGrath 2-5 (0-4f, 0-1 ’65), Tommy Heffernan 1-1, Tom Morrissey, 0-4, Jason Forde 0-3 (0-3f), Cathal McInerney 0-1.

Scorers for UCD: Oisin O’Rorke 0-8 (0-7f, 0-1 ’65), James Maher 0-3, Colm Cronin, Padraic Guinan 0-2 each, Eoin Conroy 0-1.

UL

1. Paul Maher (Moyne-Templetuohy, Tipperary)

4. Stephen Roche (Kilnadeema-Leitrim, Galway)
3. Jack Browne (Ballyea, Clare)
26. Gearoid Ryan (Clarecastle, Clare)

24. Barry Heffernan (Nenagh Éire Óg, Tipperary)
6. Jason Forde (Silvermines, Tipperary)
7. Brian Stapleton (Templederry Kenyons, Tipperary)

5. Aidan McGuane (Kilmaley, Clare)
8. Kevin Hehir (Inagh-Kilnamona, Clare)

23. David Fitzgerald (Inagh-Kilnamona, Clare)
13. John McGrath (Loughmore-Castleiney, Tipperary)
12. Conor Martin (Emeralds, Kilkenny)

14. Kevin O’Brien (Patrickswell, Limerick)
11. Tom Morrissey (Ahane, Limerick)
15. Cathal McInerney (Cratloe, Clare)

Subs
18. Tommy Heffernan (Éire Óg Nenagh, Tipperary) for Fitzgerald (40)
25. Alan Murphy (Glenmore, Kilkenny) for McInerney (51)
6. Gearóid Hegarty (St Patrick’s, Limerick) for Forde (60)
19. PJ Scully (Borris-in-Ossory Kilcotton, Laois) for O’Brien (61)
9. Bill Maher (Kilsheelan-Kilcash, Tipperary) for Morrissey (62)

UCD

1. Darragh Holohan (Dicksboro, Kilkenny)

2. Pat Hannon (St Mary’s Athenry, Galway)
3. Sean Murphy (Buffers Alley, Wexford)
5. James Madden (Ballyboden St Enda’s, Dublin)

8. Huw Lawlor (O’Loughlin Gaels, Kilkenny)
7. Conor O’Shea (Clara, Kilkenny)
9. Seán Moran (Cuala, Dublin)

4. Eoin Conroy (Naomh Éanna, Wexford)
6. Cian O’Callaghan (Cuala, Dublin)

10. James Maher (St Lachtain’s, Kilkenny)
12. Colm Cronin (Cuala, Dublin)
19. Padraic Guinan (Drumcullen, Offaly)

14. Oisín O’Rorke (Kilmacud Crokes, Dublin)
13. Ross King (Rathdowney-Errill, Laois)
17. Conor Devitt (Ballyfad, Wexford)

Subs
23. Jake Malone (Cuala, Dublin) for Conroy (43)
25. Tom Phelan (Conahy Shamrocks, Kilkenny) for King (45)
15. Jack O’Connor (St Martin’s, Wexford) for Moran (47)
11. Ciaran Prendergast (Clara, Kilkenny) for Devitt (49)
21. Jack Mullaney (Stradbally, Waterford) for Cronin (56)

Referee: Cathal McAllister (Cork)

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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