Mary Immaculate's bid for maiden Fitzgibbon success off to perfect start
Mary Immaculate College 1-16 NUI Galway 0-13
Mary’s Immaculate’s quest for a first ever Fitzgibbon Cup crown got off to a superb start in difficult conditions in Galway.
But the Limerick college mastered the elements and the challenge of the home side to run out deserving winners in a fiery contest where three players were sent off.
The star of the show was Limerick senior Declan Hannon who hit 1-9.
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 but Mary I got over the line despite his absence.
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.
Mary I, runners-up three years ago, made an impressive start with Lynch, David Reidy, Darragh Corry and Hannon shooting good points.
Clare’s Bobby Duggan hit four first-half points for NUIG and they must have fancied their chances when they trailed by just four having played against the wind.
Mary I’s cause looked to have suffered a major blow when Lynch was shown red after a challenge on Cathal Mannion, just after Hannon had given Mary I a 1-12 to 0-8 advantage, with their goal.
Darragh O’Donovan burst through the NUIG cover and relayed the ball to Hannon who made no mistake from close range.
Padraig Mannion was also sent to the line, for a second bookable offence in 53rd minute, and Hennelly followed him with a straight red for an off the ball incident late on, as NUIG’s chances faded.
Scores – Mary Immaculate College: D Hannon 1-9 (7f); M O’Neill 0-1, C Lynch 0-1, D Reidy 0-1, D Corry 0-1, D O’Donovan 0-1, R Maher 0-1, C Galvin 0-1.
NUI Galway: B Duggan 0-6 (5f); N O’Brien 0-2; C Whelan 0-1, A Helebert 0-1, K McHugo 0-1, G Hennelly 0-1, M Mullins 0-1.
Mary Immaculate College – M O Conghaile (Galway); C Barry (Cork), E Quirke (Clare), R English (Limerick); R Maher (Tipperary), M O’Neill (Clare), J Meagher (Tipperary); D O’Donovan (Limerick), C Galvin (Clare); S Cahill (Tipperary), D Corry (Clare), C Lynch (Limerick); A Flynn (Tipperary), D Hannon (Limerick), D Reidy (Limerick).
Subs: T Stapleton (Tipperary) for Reidy (19), C Twomey (Cork) for Barry (30), T Monaghan (Galway) for Cahill (56), J Peters (Tipperary) for Twomey (60-62).