LIT boss Davy Fitzgerald looking forward to 'massive battle' with Mary I after taking care of UCD today
Limerick IT booked their place in the independent.ie Fitzgibbon Cup weekend with a comprehensive defeat of UCD but Davy Fitzgerald knows improvement is needed for “a massive battle” against reigning champions Mary I on Friday week.
Fitzgerald’s side overcame a 1-9 to 0-9 half-time deficit to gradually suck the life out of UCD with the unheralded Clare attacker Jason McCarthy proving the scoring hero, hitting 1-3 as the Wexford boss won the sideline duel with Tipperary legend Nicky English.
McCarthy capped an energetic display with a fine goal on the stroke of full-time and led LIT’s charge to the semi-finals along with Limerick senior star Diarmaid Byrnes and Galway’s Paul Killeen, but Fitzgerald is well aware that bigger tests await.
“We’re over the moon. It’s hard to believe we’ve made another weekend and over the last 15 years I think we’ve been the most consistent college as regards getting to the weekend but it’d be nice to try and go a step further if we can,” the two-time Fitzgibbon Cup-winning manager said.
“We’re looking at a massive battle against Mary I. We’ve a bit to sharpen up on. We won’t beat Mary I playing like that. I saw them yesterday and they’re champions so they’re going to be absolutely busting a gut but it’ll be a good game I can tell you that.”
LIT raced into a 0-3 to 0-1 lead through Peter Duggan and a pair of frees from Killeen but playing with a stiff breeze UCD’s challenge got a shot in the arm when Oisín O’Rorke flicked a dangerous DJ Foran free to the net.
It was tit for tat in the opening half with Jamie Shanahan effective as LIT’s sweeper and it was only towards the end when UCD made the elements count with four in a row from Darragh Dolan, Waterford All-Star Tadhg de Búrca, James Madden and O’Rorke giving them a three-point half-time lead.
Within ten minutes of the resumption it was level as David Dempsey, Byrnes and centre-back Barry O’Connell drove the home side on. Scores were drying up for UCD and LIT pushed on through points from McCarthy, and one each from Dempsey and the inspirational Byrnes, 0-17 to 0-11.
O’Rorke assumed free-taking duties from the misfiring Foran and cut the gap to two but Shane Bennett was on target at the other end and McCarthy sent over another beauty, quickly followed by a long-range Byrnes free, before the Inagh-Kilmanona forward’s goal put the icing on the cake of a team performance which epitomised everything Fitzgerald loves about LIT.
“That’s what LIT is about. LIT is about hard work. You give these boys a game-plan and ninth tenths of the time they’ll stick to it, they won’t deviate from it, they’re good lads and they’re a very honest bunch. We haven’t a massive pick but they’re very honest.”
SCORERS – LIT: P Killeen 0-7 (6f), J McCarthy 1-3, D Byrnes 0-3 (2f), D Dempsey and S Bennett (1f) 0-2 each, P Duggan, W Connors and B O’Connell 0-1 each.
UCD: O O’Rorke 1-3 (2f), DJ Foran 0-5 (4f), D Dolan 0-2, J Madden, J Maher and T de Búrca (f) 0-1 each.
LIT – E Quilligan; O O’Brien, K Bennett, C Nolan; W Ryan, B O’Connell, D Byrnes; W Connors, D Reidy; S Bennett, P Killeen, J McCarthy; J Shanahan, P Duggan, D Dempsey. Sub: C Cooney for Ryan (53).
UCD – D Holohan; E Hayden, P Hannon, C MacGabhann; C Buckley, T de Búrca, J O’Connor; D Dolan, H Lawlor; J Maher, J Madden, P Guinan; O O’Rorke, DJ Foran, L Scanlon. Subs: B Quigley for O’Connor (42), C Keane for Guinan (45), R Dwan for Madden (51), S Quirke for Maher (57).
REF – B Gavin (Offaly)