BERNARD Gaffney proved to be the hero for Limerick IT as his personal scoring spree of 3-3 helped his side book a semi-final berth in Limerick yesterday.
Willie Hyland opened the scoring in the first minute with a spectacular point which was followed by a Gaffney free. And it was Hyland's turn again after three minutes before Stephen Lambert made it 0-4 to no score.
A fine pass by Lambert set up the next Limerick point after eight minutes and then two goals in as many minutes killed the game off. At this stage LIT were playing some delightful hurling and their accurate passing caused mayhem for the NUIG defenders.
Three players -- Sean Tobin, Sean Collins and Donie Reale -- created the first of Gaffney's goals after 10 minutes and then, seconds later, Collins raced past several defenders before planting the ball past Donal Tuohy in the NUIG goal.
A '65' from Caiman Morey and a delightful point from Pat Kelly failed to spark his NUIG side into life and by half-time LIT led by 4-11 to 0-4.
Just in case NUIG contemplated a comeback, Gaffney pointed a free just after the interval and when he scored his second goal of the game his side led 5-12 to 0-4. There was no stopping LIT with James McInerney scoring the last point of the game from all of 80 yards, and it was fitting that Gaffney scored his side's sixth goal when he kicked the ball to the net.
SCORERS -- Limerick IT: B Gaffney 3-3 (0-2f) S Collins, P Browne, Tobin 1-1 each, W Hyland 0-4, D Reale; S Lambert 0-2 each, J McInerney, P O'Brien 0-1 each. NUIG: C Morey 0-4 (3f), N Burke 0-2, P Kelly, J Conlon, G Kelly 0-1 each.
Limerick IT-- M Ryan; E Glynn, C Cowan, C Cooney; P Donnellan, J McInerney, J O'Keeffe; P Browne, P O'Brien; S Collins, W Hyland, D Reale; S Lambert, B Gaffney, S Tobin. Subs: G Power for W Hyland, B Glynn for P Browne, for J Hayes for J McInerney, M McMahon for P O'Brien.
NUIG -- D Tuohy; D Nash, P Gordan, S McCormack; P Kelly, P Nihill, M Keating; E Noone, D O'Donovan; R Shanahan, J Conlon, JP O'Connell; G Kelly, C Morey, N Burke. Subs: M Kelly for P Nihill, S Glynn for E Noone, J O'Gorman for R Shanahan, S Brennan for G Kelly.
Ref -- B Gavin (Offaly).