Wednesday 29 March 2017

Magnificent Hammersley hits top gear to guide WIT into decider

WATERford IT 1-15 UNIVERSITY OF LIMERICK 0-14

Timmy Hammersley hit an astonishing 1-13 as Waterford IT recovered a five-point second-half deficit to storm into the final at Dangan yesterday.



Waterford, bidding for a fifth Fitzgibbon Cup in eight years, looked in deep trouble when Shane Dooley hit his fifth point a minute after the restart to put University of Limerick 0-10 to 0-5 ahead.

But UL had reckoned without the brilliance of their opponents' Tipperary star, who scored all but 0-2 of his side's total.

Corner-forward Hammersley hit a point from play and then landed two frees before a Fintan O'Leary ball broke kindly for him and he raced through to dispatch the ball into the bottom corner of the net for a 1-8 to 0-10 lead after 40 minutes.

The UL response was poor -- the fact that they failed to score from play in the second half told its own story and cost them dearly.

Not that WIT were blessed with great scoring power either -- only substitute Brian O'Meara managed to find the range in the course of the match to add to Hammersley's remarkable haul.

Deadlocked

Offaly forward Dooley kept UL in touch with some excellent free-taking and the sides were deadlocked at 1-10 to 0-13 with 12 minutes remaining in a game where WIT's Noel Connors was on opposite sides to his brother Tommy.

UL, runners-up last year, looked like they might sneak into the final when Dooley edged them in front with a point from a free from 70 yards.

But WIT finished very strongly, with Hammersley levelling four minutes from time and O'Meara striking his second point moments later to give them a lead they never lost. Hammersley tacked on three more pointed frees to seal a place in today's final against hosts NUIG.

UL enjoyed their best spell in the opening half when Seamus Hickey, Tommy Connors, Brian Carroll and Matthew Ruth were on target, in addition to Dooley as they built up a 0-9 to 0-5 lead -- only Clonoulty Rossmore's Hammersley hit the target for WIT in that opening period.

But there was no stopping him after the break.

SCORERS -- Waterford IT: T Hammersley 1-13 (0-11f), B O'Meara 0-2. UL: S Dooley 0-9 (0-7f, 0-1 sideline), S Hickey, T Connors, B Carroll, A Quinn, M Ruth 0-1 each.

Waterford IT -- A Power; B Kenny, S Fives, N Connors; W Hutchinson, E Barrett, PJ Rowe; W O'Dwyer, M Molloy; F O'Leary, K Reade, R Good; T Hammersley, K Grehan, R McLoughney. Subs: R McCarthy for O'Dwyer (34), B O'Meara for Reade (36), B Johnson for Molloy (43), S Power for Good (55).

University of Limerick -- T Lowry; P Stapleton, M Malone, C Fogarty; K Joyce, J Devane, S Hickey; M Walsh, N O Murchu; T Connors, R O'Dwyer, B Carroll; A Quinn, M Ruth, S Dooley. Subs: D Hayden for Joyce (48), P O Murchu for Quinn (50), M Heffernan for N O Murchu (53), D Burke for Ruth (55).

Irish Independent

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