Sport Hurling

Tuesday 24 April 2018

Kelly proves star turn for LIT

Limerick IT 2-16 University of Limerick 1-13

Cian Nolan, Limerick IT, in action against Tommy Heffernan, left, and Cathal Malone, University of Limerick
Cian Nolan, Limerick IT, in action against Tommy Heffernan, left, and Cathal Malone, University of Limerick
Barry O'Connell, Limerick IT, in action against Tommy Heffernan and Brian Stapleton, right, University of Limerick
Padraic Walsh, University of Limerick, in action against Cian Nolan, Limerick IT
Limerick IT manager Davy Fitzgerald speaks to his players after victory over University of Limerick

Jackie Cahill

A Stunning victory for Limerick IT in the Fitzgibbon Cup quarter-finals against city rivals University of Limerick prompted boss Davy Fitzgerald to claim that it was right up there with anything he has achieved in hurling.

That might seem like an exaggerated statement from an All-Ireland senior championship-winning manager, but Fitzgerald had been involved with LIT hurling since its embryonic stages, and he was also team manager in 2005 and '07 when they claimed victory in this competition. Fitzgerald now has another Fitzgibbon Cup finals weekend to look forward to.

Waterford IT will provide the opposition in the last four, but if LIT can produce the incredible levels of hunger, workrate and intensity they showed yesterday, anything is possible at Queen's University in Belfast.

Star of the show in front of a massive 3,000 crowd, was Clare's 2013 Hurler of the Year Tony Kelly as the Ballyea dynamo helped himself to 1-10 – 1-4 of that tally coming from play.

There was also a handsome contribution from Tipp's Philip Ivors as the Ballingarry man hit 1-3, including a sensational 58th-minute goal. It was the second time that Shane Hassett was beaten as Kelly had lobbed him with a 51st-minute goal.

Ultimately, a six-point victory was achieved, but the black spot for LIT was a red card for Seanie O'Brien with three minutes left following an incident involving Mark Carmody.

Fitzgerald's men had to dig deep as UL came from four points down at half-time (0-6 to 0-10) to draw level within two minutes of the restart.

UL's leading scorer Jason Forde banged home a cracking goal after 16 seconds and Tommy Heffernan levelled it.

As 10/1 on favourites before throw-in, many would have fancied UL to kick on from there, but 6/1 outsiders LIT responded with a power-packed display.

Fitzgerald said: "That was as big as anything I have ever done because we weren't given a snowball's chance, but I love them odds anyway. I love when your back is to the wall – the lads were absolutely incredible. For us to play with the heart we did and with that ferocity, was massive."

Scorers – LIT: T Kelly 1-10 (5fs, 0-1 '65'), P Ivors 1-3, M Gennery 0-2, P Flaherty 0-1. UL: J Forde 1-6 (5fs, 0-1 sl), P Walsh, T Heffernan 0-2 each, P Collins, T O'Brien (f), C malone 0-1 each.

LIT – A Murphy; S O'Gorman, M Minehan, C Nolan; P Flaherty, E Boyce, A Dempsey; B O'Connell, T Kelly; S O'Brien, P Ivors, P Begley; M Gennery, C McInerney, J Shanahan. Subs: S McGrath for Gennery (44), O Hickey for Ivors (60+1).

UL – S Hassett; P Flanagan, J Sheehan, J Browne; T Ryan, D Morrissey, C Ryan; B Maher, P Walsh; C Malone, P Collins, B Stapleton; J Forde, J Glynn, T Heffernan. Subs: S Morey for Maher (28), T O'Brien for Stapleton (44), M Carmody for Sheehan (51).

REF – D Kirwan (Cork).

Irish Independent

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