Saturday 23 March 2019

UCC complete first Sigerson-Fitzgibbon double in 31 years as hurlers enjoy commanding win over Mary I

UCC 2-21 Mary I 0-13

UCC powered to victory today (stock photo)
UCC powered to victory today (stock photo)
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

An early goal of the year contender from Tipperary forward Mark Kehoe inspired UCC to their 39th Fitzgibbon Cup triumph at a sunny WIT Arena this afternoon.

The man of the match fired 1-4 from open play as they ran out 14-point winners over Mary I in a one-sided final. A second goal from Conor Browne on 40 minutes sealed a first Sigerson and Fitzgibbon double since 1988.

The sides traded two points each before Kehoe left the Mary I defence for dead in the eighth minute. He weaved around four Mary I backs, withstood a hefty challenge from Philip Hickey and then blasted past Eoghan Cahill. Three of the Mary I full-backs received yellow cards from James Owens before half-time as the UCC inside line called the shots. Loose defender Paddy O’Loughlin and Chris O’Leary were dominant in the half-back division despite the loss of Eoghan Murphy to injury.

Three points in a row from Waterford senior Colm Roche left them seven clear by the 22nd minute (1-8 to 0-4). Mary I got the next three, including two from top scorer Aaron Gillane. UCC finished the half with the last four points, however, as they enjoyed a 1-12 to 0-7 advantage at the break.

Gillane and sub Colin English narrowed the gap to six but that was as close as Mary I got. They couldn’t handle Kehoe in the corner and he tagged on three classy points during the third quarter.

On 40 minutes, Browne collected a Darragh Fitzgibbon pass, sped through the centre and rifled to the bottom corner of the Mary I net.

Tom Kingston’s men could even afford to hit 12 wides.

Corner-back Niall O’Leary got in on act before Cork ace Shane Kingston shot his first point of the day in injury-time.

Scorers — UCC: M Kehoe 1-4; S Conway 0-6 (5fs); C Browne 1-1; C Roche 0-3; C O’Leary 0-2 (2fs); D Griffin, D Fitzgibbon, R O’Flynn, N O’Leary, S Kingston 0-1 each. Mary I: A Gillane 0-8 (8fs); M O’Loughlin, L Meade, T Monaghan, C O’Brien, C English 0-1 each.

UCC: J Barry; N O’Leary, E Gunning, K Dwyer; C O’Leary, E Murphy, D Griffin; M Coleman, P O’Loughlin; C Browne, S Kingston, C Roche; M Kehoe, S Conway, D Fitzgibbon. Subs: R O’Flynn for Murphy (15), D Lowney for Dwyer (53), D Lynch for O’Leary (53), R Donohue for Roche (58), D Walsh for Fitzgibbon (59).

Mary I: E Cahill; S Downey, D Prendergast, E Ryan; T Grimes, D Browne, C Morgan; L Meade, P Hickey; T Monaghan, G Cooney, C O’Brien; A Gillane, C Guilfoyle, M O’Loughlin. Subs: B Buckley for Downey (16), C English for O’Loughlin (h-t), S Burke for Cooney (47), R McCormack for O’Brien (50).

Referee: J Owens (Wexford)

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