Hannon gives Mary I the edge in feisty affair
Mary Immaculate Col 1-16 NUI Galway 0-13
Mary Immaculate manager Eamon Cregan was thrilled to see his men start their Fitzgibbon Cup campaign with a win in Galway, but stressed it is only the start of the journey.
Declan Hannon led the way with 1-9 in a contest where three were sent off as Mary I laid down an early marker that they could go one better than 2013 and claim a first title.
"We have to be happy with the result because we had a number of players that were missing. You are coming up here, that's the first time our team has played together with all of the injuries we have had, and we are happy with the result. But that's only step one," said Cregan.
The Limerick college mastered the elements and the challenge of the home side to run out deserving winners in a fiery contest.
NUIG finished with 13 men after Galway star Padraig Mannion picked up two yellow cards and sub Ger Hennelly got a straight red for an off-the-ball incident late in the game. Limerick senior Cian Lynch was also given his marching orders.
"We couldn't get it below that six-point gap but a lot of the decisions went against us. It's a disappointing result for us in our home town, and we have a tough group. But we will regroup," said NUIG boss Tony Ward.
The Limerick college had the wind behind them in the opening half at Dangan but looked certain to face an uphill task when they led by just four points at the break, 0-11 to 0-7. But Hannon struck for the only goal of the game six minutes after the break and Mary I never looked back after that.
Scorers - Mary I: D Hannon 1-9 (7f); M O'Neill, C Lynch, D Reidy, D Corry, D O'Donovan, R Maher, C Galvin 0-1 each.
NUI Galway: B Duggan 0-6 (5f); N O'Brien 0-2; C Whelan, A Helebert, K McHugo, G Hennelly, M Mullins 0-1 each.
Mary I - M O Conghaile; C Barry, E Quirke, R English; R Maher, M O'Neill, J Meagher; D O'Donovan, C Galvin; S Cahill, D Corry, C Lynch; A Flynn, D Hannon, D Reidy. Subs: T Stapleton for Reidy (19), C Twomey for Barry (30), T Monaghan for Cahill (56), J Peters for Twomey (60-62).
NUI Galway - C Tuohy; C Ryan, B Fitzpatrick, G Forde; P Mannion, J Hanbury, S Cooney; N O'Brien, O Donnellan; B Duggan, C Mannion, A Helebert; J Fox, C Whelan, K McHugo. Subs: M Mullins for Helebert (42), S Ward for Fox (49), E Brannigan for Forde (53), G Hennelly for McHugo (54), S Whelan for Cooney (63).
Ref - F Horgan (Tipperary)