Second half surge sends UL through to Fitzgibbon semis at UCD's expense
University of Limerick 0-18 University College Dublin 0-15
BRIAN Lohan’s University of Limerick opened up with a second half scoring burst to book their place in the semi-finals of the Fitzgibbon Cup, at UCD’s expense this afternoon.
Trailing by 0-5 to 0-9 at half-time, hosts UL hit ten unanswered points to cruise 0-15 to 0-9 clear, with Tipperary’s John McGrath and Kilkenny man Conor Martin to the fore.
First half highlights:
McGrath, a current Tipp senior panellist and younger brother of Noel, finished with 0-7 for the winners, as Martin chipped in with 0-4.
Ross King hit six pointed frees for Nicky English’s UCD but the visitors were blown away in the second half as wind-assisted UL took over.
But having fallen six points behind, UCD rallied to within a single point, 0-14 to 0-15, in the final ten minutes.
UL kicked for home again as points from McGrath (two) and Limerick’s Dan Morrissey opened up a 0-18 to 0-14 lead.
UCD defender Conor O’Shea cut the gap to a goal with a booming long-range free and there was stoppage time drama when English’s men were awarded a 20m free.
O’Shea stepped forward to unleash a thunderbolt that was well saved by UL goalkeeper Paul Maher.
And from the follow-up, Kilkenny’s All Star defender Cillian Buckley saw his effort beaten away, before referee Barry Kelly blew for full-time.
Four-time champions UL, who last won the Fitzgibbon Cup in 2011, now advance to finals weekend at Limerick IT.
And they managed to negotiate a tricky quarter-final without Clare stars Tony Kelly and David McInerney, who were both ruled out with hamstring injuries.
Second half highlights:
Scorers for UL: J McGrath 0-7 (5f), C Martin 0-4 (1f), T Heffernan & J Forde (1f, 1 65) 0-2 each, B Stapleton, D Morrissey & S Bennett 0-1 each.
Scorers for UCD: R King 0-6f, C Devitt & P Purcell 0-2 each, C O’Shea (f), J O’Connor, C Cronin, G Sinnott & D Mulligan 0-1 each.
UL: P Maher (Tipperary); J Browne (Clare), B Troy (Kilkenny), G Ryan (Clare); D Quinn (Tipperary), J Forde (Tipperary), B Stapleton (Tipperary); D Morrissey (Limerick), A McGuane (Clare); J McGrath (Tipperary), C Martin (Kilkenny), PJ Scully (Laois); K O’Brien (Limerick), S Bennett (Waterford), T Heffernan (Tipperary).
Sub: T Cleary (Tipperary) for Scully (56).
UCD: B Leydon (Kilkenny); E Conroy (Wexford), M O’Hanlon (Wexford), C McDonagh (Galway); J Lyng (Kilkenny), C O’Shea (Kilkenny), C Buckley (Kilkenny); C O’Callaghan (Dublin), P Purcell (Laois); C Cronin (Dublin), C Devitt (Wexford), J O’Connor (Wexford); O O’Rourke (Dublin), G Sinnott (Wexford), R King (Laois).
Subs: D Mulligan (Dublin) for O’Callaghan (42), C Conway (Dublin) for O’Connor (47), S Aylward (Kilkenny) for Purcell (56), M Brennan (Ballyragget, Kilkenny) for Cronin (59).
Referee: B Kelly (Westmeath)