INSTITUTE of Technology Tallaght produced two exceptional performances when claiming the Fergal Maher Cup on Fitzgibbon Cup weekend in Queen's, Belfast.
On Friday, the Dublin college trailed by 2-6 to 0-3 against GMIT Letterfrack at half-time but the Tallaght players regrouped to launch a comeback, aided by strong performances from Ballinteer's Aodhán Clabby and Glenn Whelan and Finian McDonagh of Ballyboden, to draw level with five minutes remaining. Jonathon O'Driscoll from Ballyboden St Enda's had a profound effect on the outcome when introduced as he put Dylan Hanley from Thomas Davis through for a goal and also placed St Jude's Rob Hardy for a point to leave it 1-14 to 2-8 for IT Tallaght by the final whistle.
On Saturday, the Dubs raced out of the blocks in the final against Cork College of Further Education, producing an exceptional first-half performance in which they led by 0-19 to 0-10 at the break.
Clabby proved the scorer-in-chief and he was ably assisted by McDonagh, goalkeeper Conor Dooley while Hanley and Ryan Deegan from Thomas Davis also contributing on the scoreboard.
The second half saw a Cork revival and Tallaght looked in trouble when they were reduced to 14 men with 22 minutes left, but they withstood the subsequent onslaught to hang on for a draw and extra-time.
Once back to 15 players for extra time, Tallaght again started strongly to gain a three-point advantage through scores from Hardy, Deegan and Clabby but lightning struck twice when they were again reduced to 14 men in a very tense and hard-fought game.
As often happens, the 14 men hung on with outstanding performances from both Glen Whelan and Jack Whelan of Round Tower, Clondalkin in the half-back line helping repel the Cork men as they eventually prevailed by 0-28 to 2-20.
IT Tallaght manager Martin McKenna said: "The attitude and 'never-say-die' spirit and unity of the players were the best that I have ever worked with. They are a credit to hurling in Dublin."