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Dublin: 5 °C Friday 14 December, 2018

Forde and Bennett hit the net as UL see off Limerick IT to reach Fitzgibbon Cup final

UL are through to their first final since they won the competition in 2011.

UL and Limerick IT players battle for possession.
UL and Limerick IT players battle for possession.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

UL 2-18
Limerick IT 1-14

SECOND-HALF GOALS from Jason Forde and Stephen Bennett propelled UL past Limerick IT in today’s Fitzgibbon Cup semi-final after a game where both sides finished with 14 men.

The match pitted former Clare greats Brian Lohan and Davy Fitzgerald in opposition with Lohan’s UL triumphing against the hosts to reach their first Fitzgibbon decider since they won the competition in 2011.

LIT produced a brave and spirited display despite being hit by the absentee of key figures. Clare trio Jamie Shanahan, Peter Duggan and Cian Nolan all missed out through injury while Limerick’s Alan Dempsey was suspended after being sent-off in last Tuesday’s quarter-final win over IT Carlow.

UL had looked set for a comfortable victory when they raced 1-13 to 1-7 clear seven minutes into the second-half. But UL were rocked when Clare senior Jack Browne was shown a red card in the 40th minute for an off-the-ball strike.

LIT roared back into contention and cut the gap to two points on a couple of occasions. They came close to finding the UL net as well during the second-half but found Tipperary’s Paul Maher unbeatable and he produced one excellent save to deny LIT’s Paul Killeen.

Paul Killeen reacts to a missed chance Paul Killeen reacts to a missed chance for Limerick IT. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

LIT were still only trailing by two points with five minutes left but UL closed out the game with Forde firing over a free and then Dan Morrissey’s surged forward before laying the ball off for substitute Bennett.

The Waterford forward smashed home a left-foot shot and LIT defender Niall O’Connor was shown a red card afterwards for throwing his hurley as Bennett struck the ball. Forde cut over a sideline ball in injury-time and that sealed UL’s seven-point victory.

UL were boosted beforehand by the return of Clare duo David McInerney and Tony Kelly from injury while Banner footballer Cathal McInerney was notable addition to their attack. The Cratloe forward made a real impact in the early stages as well as he hit two points to help UL got ahead 0-5 to 0-2.

Tony Kelly and Davy Fitzgerald after the game Tony Kelly and Davy Fitzgerald after the game. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

But LIT bounced back with Tipperary’s Willie Ryan pushing forward from defence to gather possession and strike a fierce shot to the net in the 10th minute. The accuracy of Clare’s David Reidy and Kildare’s Martin Fitzgerald helped push LIT into a 1-6 to 0-6 lead by the 25th minute.

However UL closed out the half strongly. Cathal McInerney, Kevin O’Brien, John McGrath and Tommy Heffernan chipped in with points as they went 0-10 to 1-6 clear at the break.

Their dominance continued into the second-half with Forde cracking home a terrific early goal. They went seven clear and were in control in most sectors but a comfortable win didn’t materialise due to the setback of losing Browne and the tenacity of LIT. UL dug in though with David McInerney outstanding and they advanced to tomorrow night’s final.

Scorers for UL: Jason Forde 1-3 (0-1 sideline), John McGrath 0-4 (0-4f), Stephen Bennett 1-0, David McInerney, Cathal McInerney 0-3 each, Kevin O’Brien 0-2, Tommy Heffernan, Conor Martin, Dan Morrissey 0-1 each.

Scorers for LIT: David Reidy 0-8 (0-7f), Willie Ryan 1-0, Paul Killeen, Martin Fitzgerald 0-2 each, Paul Flaherty, Seanie O’Brien 0-1 each.


1. Paul Maher (Moyne-Templetuohy, Tipperary)

2. Jack Browne (Ballyea, Clare)
3. David McInerney (Tulla, Clare)
17. Gearoid Ryan (Clarecastle, Clare)

5. Daire Quinn (Éire Óg Nenagh, Tipperary)
6. Brian Troy (Emeralds, Clare)
7. Brian Stapleton (Templederry Kenyons, Tipperary)

19. Dan Morrissey (Ahane, Limerick)
9. Tony Kelly (Ballyea, Clare)

10. John McGrath (Loughmore-Castleiney, Tipperary)
14. Conor Martin (Emeralds, Kilkenny)
8. Jason Forde (Silvermines, Tipperary)

13. Kevin O’Brien (Patrickswell, Limerick)
24. Cathal McInerney (Cratloe, Clare)
12. Tommy Heffernan (Éire Óg Nenagh, Tipperary)

25. Stephen Bennett (Ballysaggart, Waterford) for Heffernan (45)

Limerick IT

1. Aaron Murphy (Hospital/Herberstown, Limerick)

2. Michael Kiely (Ballybrown, Limerick)
3. Niall O’Connor (Clare)
4. Kieran Bennett (Ballysaggart, Waterford)

5. Willie Ryan (Clonakenny, Tipperary)
6. Barry O’Connell (Kildimo/Pallaskenry, Limerick)
20. Shane Gleeson (Cratloe, Clare)

8. Stephen O’Halloran (Clarecastle, Clare)
11. Seanie O’Brien (Patrickswell, Limerick)

10. Joe Campion (Borris/Kilcotton, Laois)
7. Martin Fitzgerald (Ardclough, Kildare)
9. Paul Flaherty (Abbeyknockmoy, Galway)

13. David Reidy (Éire Óg Ennis, Clare)
14. Paul Killeen (Tynagh-Abbey-Duniry, Galway)
15. David Dempsey (Na Piarsaigh, Limerick)

12. Patrick Fitzgerald (Bodyke, Clare) for Campion (53)

Referee: James McGrath (Westmeath)

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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