Waterford students march into Fitzgibbon Cup last four
Waterford IT 1-18 DIT 1-7
Pauric Mahony scored eight points as WIT advanced to an Independent.ie Fitzgibbon Cup semi-final.
In front of a large attendance, the Colm Bonnar managed side never looked troubled, despite conceding the opening point after Wexford’s Jack Guiney was on target in the first minute for the visitors.
Waterford excelled in both defence and attack, and led by 1-7 to 1-4 at the interval, with Mahony’s tally at three points at that stage.
Gavin O’Brien, Austin Gleeson, Liam McGrath and Jake Dillon were also on target for the hosts in the opening half an hour, with WIT’s goal coming from Stephen Roche in the ninth minute.
Roche finished an excellent move, involving Wexford’s Harry Kehoe and Gleeson, before Waterford native Roche smashed the ball to the back of the DIT net from close-range.
This handed WIT a 1-3 to 0-1 lead at this stage, with a McGrath point pushing their lead to six points soon after.
While Guiney kept DIT in touch, and landed a 27th minute goal for the visitors, they found it hard to cope with a resolute WIT defence.
Martin O’Neill, Ger Teehan and Jerome Maher were among those impressed at the back while WIT strung together some fine passing moves, with Gleeson also setting off on bursting runs.
DIT captain Kieran Bergin kept things together for the Dublin outfit in defence, while Kildare goalkeeper Paddy McKenna also made some fine blocks for the visitors.
Derek McNicholas sat out Westmeath’s Allianz Hurling League loss to Derry at the weekend through injury, and although starting this game, the attacking forward was called ashore in the second half.
Three points in arrears at the break, DIT worked hard to come into contention in the third quarter.
However, WIT regained composure in the final quarter, with Johnny Hayes, Mahony and Roche taking scores, while at the opposite end Guiney was well marshalled, and forced wide on two occasions late on from scoring positions, where he was well blocked by O'Neill and Maher.
WIT never gave up, with a late goal chance from substitute Hayes, and although McKenna put in an excellent stop, WIT held out for a deserved win.
WIT: Darragh Stapleton; Owen McGrath, Ger Teehan, Jerome Maher; Thomas Hamill, Martin O’Neill, Tom Fox; Jack Langton, Stephen Roche (1-1); Gavin O’Brien (0-2), Pauric Mahony (0-8, 0-6f), Harry Kehoe; Liam McGrath (0-2), Austin Gleeson (0-3), Jake Dillon (0-1). Subs: John Hayes (0-1) for Dillon (36); Ger Malone for Kehoe (48); P Campion for Gleeson (56); Ciaran O’Brien for O'Neill (58); Tommy Kavanagh for Mahony (58).
DIT: Paddy McKenna; Brian Carey, Tommy Doyle, Conor Robinson; Glenn Whelan, Kieran Bergin, Justin Cahill; Conor Sheehan (0-1), John Henderson; Scott Murphy, Jack Guiney (1-6, 0-5 f), Jude Sweeney; Michael Lee, Derek McNicholas, Joe McManus . Subs: Daryl Roberts for Lee (28); Willie McGrath for Murphy (48).
REFEREE: Johnny Ryan (Tipperary).