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Clabby inspires Tallaght triumph

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."