Sunday 20 August 2017

Mary I remain on course to regain Independent.ie Fitzgibbon Cup title by defeating Davy Fitzgerald's LIT

Mary Immaculate, Limerick 0-19 Limerick IT 0-14

Limerick IT manager Davy Fitzgerald during the Independent.ie HE GAA Fitzgibbon Cup semi-final meeting between Mary Immaculate College Limerick and Limerick IT at Dangan, in Galway. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Limerick IT manager Davy Fitzgerald during the Independent.ie HE GAA Fitzgibbon Cup semi-final meeting between Mary Immaculate College Limerick and Limerick IT at Dangan, in Galway. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Declan Rooney

Mary Immaculate remain on course to defend their Fitzgibbon Cup after an impressive showing against Limerick rivals LIT in Dangan.

Aaron Gillane hit 12 points for Mary I, but also had a first-half penalty saved as Davy Fitzgerald’s LIT stayed tight to their rivals until the early stages of the second period.

But after that Gillane gradually pushed Mary I into a sizeable lead and his frees and a point from Stephen Cahill late on saw them to an easy victory.

A place in tomorrow’s final at Pearse Stadium against IT Carlow was the reward for the winners and it was the 2007 winners LIT that took an early lead when Galway native Paul Killeen drilled over a free.

A super sideline cut from Darragh O’Donovan soon levelled matters, but from there it was all about Gillane’s free taking. He struck three in quick succession to push his side 0-4 to 0-1 ahead by the fifth minute and after David Dempsey and Killeen responded for LIT, Gillane made it 0-5 to 0-3 with his fourth soon after.

Killeen was also an impressive free taker for the eventual losers, and he tapped over three in a row between the 11th and 18th minutes to give his side the advantage once more.

Colm Galvin levelled matters again with a good point on the run, and Mary I upped their intensity before the break as Gillane added another couple of points to give them a 0-8 to 0-7 lead.

Gillane was denied a goal from a penalty after a super save from Eibhear Quinn just before the break, but Galvin ensured Mary I’s dominance continued after the restart with his second score of the game.

Kileen responded with a point for LIT, who were determined to hang on to their coattails, but Mary I took a huge step towards victory with a powerful four minutes where they hit four of the next five points – three of which came from Gillane for a 0-14 to 0-9 lead.

From there to the finish it was a case of Mary I taking their scoring chances, and Gillane was unflappable under pressure. And when he drilled over a huge free from his own 65 he gave his side a seven-point cushion with five minutes remaining.

Peter Duggan weighed in with two frees late on and Sean Ryan saw his shot diverted over the bar by Ronan Maher, but that was it for LIT as Mary I eased their way into the final.

Scorers – Mary Immaculate: A Gillane 0-12 (10f, 1’65), C Galvin 0-3, D O’Donovan 0-1 (1’sl), R Maher 0-1, M O’Neill 0-1, S Cahill 0-1.

LIT: P Killeen 0-7 (7f), P Duggan 0-2 (2f), W Connors 0-2, D Dempsey 0-1, J McCarthy 0-1 (1f), S Ryan 0-1.

Mary Immaculate College: C Barrett (Tipperary); D Sweeney (Tipperary), R English (Limerick), E Quirke (Clare); C Twomey (Cork), R Maher (Tipperary), A Flynn (Tipperary); C Galvin (Clare), S Cahill (Tipperary); D O’Donovan (Limerick), M O’Neill (Clare), A Gillane (Limerick); L Meade (Cork), C Lynch (Limerick), T Gallagher (Tipperary).

Subs: T Monaghan (Galway) for Gallagher (39), C Stapleton (Laois) for English (44).

Limerick IT: E Quilligan (Clare); O O’Brien (Clare), K Bennett (Waterford), C Nolan (Clare); W Ryan (Tipperary), B O’Connell (Limerick), D Byrnes (Limerick); D Reidy (Clare), W Connors (Tipperary); P Killeen (Galway), P Duggan (Clare), S Bennett (Waterford); J Shanahan (Clare), J McCarthy (Clare), D Dempsey (Limerick).

Subs: S Ryan (Tipperary) for Bennett (41), A La Touche Cosgrave for Connors (53), M O’Malley for McCarthy (53), S Burke for O’Neill (54).

Referee: Paud O’Dwyer (Carlow).

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