Tuesday 16 January 2018

McGrath and Martin shine as classy UL book last-four spot

University of Limerick 0-18 UCD0-15

John McGrath reacts after missing a goal-scoring opportunity for UL
John McGrath reacts after missing a goal-scoring opportunity for UL

CLARE legend Brian Lohan put one over on his former Tipperary foe Nicky English as University of Limerick booked their place in the last four of the independent.ie Fitzgibbon Cup yesterday.

Lohan-managed UL, minus hamstrung Clare pair Tony Kelly and David McInerney, came from four points down at half-time to put together a blistering scoring run which saw them through to finals weekend at Limerick IT.

With the remaining quarter-finals shrouded in doubt, four-time winners UL can rest safe in the knowledge that they have put themselves an hour away from another decider. And it was a Tipperary-Kilkenny double act that did the trick for UL, as John McGrath and Conor Martin posted 0-11 between them.

Tipperary's former dual All-Ireland medallist McGrath, younger brother of Noel, is a new addition to the county's senior panel and will surely get the chance to impress soon. Emeralds clubman Martin, meanwhile, collected three of his four points from play, including arguably the score of the game from the right touchline in the 41st minute.

Ultimately, it was a run of ten unanswered points that paved the way for UL's three-point win.

At half-time, and having played against the breeze, the hosts trailed by 0-5 to 0-9. But the second half saw Lohan's charges take over and a scintillating run of scores put them 0-15 to 0-9 clear, before UCD's leading marksman Ross King stopped the rot with a 48th-minute free. UCD rallied to within a point, 0-14 to 0-15, but McGrath (two frees) and Dan Morrissey sent UL four clear late on.

Conor O'Shea's long-range free reduced the deficit to a goal and the same player was denied by Paul Maher from a free in stoppage time as All Star Cillian Buckley's follow-up effort was also kept out.

Scorers - UL: J McGrath 0-7 (5fs), C Martin 0-4 (1f), T Heffernan & J Forde (1f, 1 65) 0-2 each, B Stapleton, D Morrissey & S Bennett 0-1 each. UCD: R King 0-6fs, 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; J Brown, B Troy, G Ryan; D Quinn, J Forde, B Stapleton; D Morrissey, A McGuane; J McGrath, C Martin, PJ Scully; K O'Brien, S Bennett, T Heffernan. Sub: T Cleary for Scully (56).

UCD - B Leydon; E Conroy, M O'Hanlon, C McDonagh; J Lyng, C O'Shea, C Buckley; C O'Callaghan, P Purcell; C Cronin, C Devitt, J O'Connor; O O'Rourke, G Sinnott, R King. Subs: D Mulligan for O'Callaghan (42), C Conway for O'Connor (47), S Aylward for Purcell (56), M Brennan for Cronin (59).

Ref - B Kelly (Westmeath)

Irish Independent

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