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Dublin: 5 °C Saturday 23 March, 2019

Kevin O'Brien strikes twice to send holders UL into Fitzgibbon Cup semi-finals

There will be three Limerick colleges in this year’s semi-finals.

University Limerick's Kevin O'Brien scored two goals this evening.
University Limerick's Kevin O'Brien scored two goals this evening.
Image: Inpho

UL 2-19
Cork IT 3-11

FITZGIBBON CUP HOLDERS UL ensured that there will be three Limerick colleges in the semi-finals of this year’s competition as they had five points to spare against Cork IT on Wednesday night.

Leading by 1-13 to 2-5 at half-time, Brian Lohan’s side saw their advantage reduced to just a point by the three-quarter mark, but their second goal, from Kevin O’Brien, gave them breathing space once more.

O’Brien raised both of the visitors’ green flags, the first coming in the fourth minute as be benefited from David Fitzgerald’s run through the CIT defence.

That made it 1-1 to no score, but CIT – missing the suspended John O’Dwyer – had an instant response when Jamie Coughlan batted home after Paul Maher had saved from Patrick White.

After 11 minutes, UL led by 1-3 to 1-2, but four unanswered points, from Tom Morrissey, Conor Martin, John McGrath and O’Brien, pushed UL clear.

Even when Michael Kearney nabbed a second CIT goal to make it 1-9 to 2-5, UL didn’t panic, with McGrath scoring twice as they necklaced another four together before the break.

Points from Robbie Hanley and Ray Barry – a huge free from behind his own ’65 – got CIT off to a good start in the second half and, while Conor Martin responded for UL, Bill Cooper struck for CIT’s third goal with a rasping shot.

That left it 1-14 to 3-7 but an equaliser couldn’t be found, McGrath (with a re-taken free) and Cooper exchanging points before O’Brien pounced on an error by CIT goalkeeper Gary Minihane.

With further points from Tom Morrissey and Kevin Hehir, UL looked safe with a five-point lead with as many minutes left, but CIT appeared to have given themselves a chance when awarded a penalty for a foul on John Cashman.

Unfortunately for them, Cashman’s retaliation meant that referee Johnny Ryan changed the call to a throw-in, and though CIT’s Michael Kearney had a goal chance from that, Maher repelled his effort.

Scorers for UL: Kevin O’Brien 2-1, John McGrath 0-6 (0-2 frees), Tom Morrissey, Conor Martin 0-4 each, Brian Stapleton, Kevin Hehir, Jason Forde (0-1 free), Barry Heffernan 0-1 each.

Scorers for Cork IT: Jamie Coughlan 1-3 (0-3 frees), Bill Cooper, Michael Kearney 1-1 each, Ray Barry 0-3 (0-2 frees), Andrew Coffey 0-2, Robbie Hanley 0-1.


1. Paul Maher (Moyne-Templetuohy, Tipperary)

2. Mike Casey (Na Piarsaigh, Limerick)
3. Jack Browne (Ballyea, Clare)
5. Aidan McGuane (Kilmaley, Clare)

6. Gearóid Hegarty (St Patrick’s, Limerick)
10. Jason Forde (Silvermines, Tipperary)
7. Brian Stapleton (Templederry Kenyons, Tipperary)

8. Kevin Hehir (Inagh-Kilnamona, Clare)
24. Barry Heffernan (Éire Óg Nenagh, Tipperary)

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

18. Tommy Heffernan (Éire Óg Nenagh, Tipperary)
11. Tom Morrissey (Ahane, Limerick)
14. Kevin O’Brien (Patrickswell, Limerick)


15. Cathal McInerney (Cratloe, Clare) for Heffernan (41)
20. Pat Ryan (Doon, Limerick) for Hegarty (60)
9. Bill Maher (Kilsheelan-Kilcash, Tipperary) for O’Brien (60)

Cork IT

1. Gary Minihane (Courcey Rovers)

2. Stephen Murphy (Blackrock)
3. Michael Russell (Aghada)
4. Conor Hammersley (Clonoulty-Rossmore, Tipperary)

5. Ray Barry (Lismore, Waterford)
6. Mark Ellis (Millstreet)
7. David Noonan (Glen Rovers)

8. Kevin O’Neill (Watergrasshill)
9. Bill Cooper (Youghal)

10. Patrick White (Midleton)
11. John Cronin (Lisgoold)
12. Andrew Coffey (Nenagh Éire Óg, Tipperary)

13. Jamie Coughlan (Newtownshandrum)
14. Noel McNamara (Kilworth)
15. Michael Kearney (Ballyduff, Waterford)


22. Kevin Kavanagh (Carrigaline) for Noonan (17)
24. Robbie Hanley (Kilmallock, Limerick) for O’Neill (29)
19. Shane O’Donovan (Mayfield) for Russell (30, injured)
25. John Cashman (Lisgood) for McNamara (44)
23. Brendan Reddin (Castletown, Laois) for White (50)

Referee: Johnny Ryan (Tipperary)

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About the author:

Denis Hurley

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