Saturday 17 March 2018

Mary I work ethic could upset the odds – Cregan

Declan Hannon, Mary Immaculate College Limerick, celebrates after his side defeated Dublin Institute of Techonology
Declan Hannon, Mary Immaculate College Limerick, celebrates after his side defeated Dublin Institute of Techonology

Jackie Cahill

LIMERICK legend Eamonn Cregan believes that Fitzgibbon Cup surprise packets Mary Immaculate College can continue their glory run by slaying eight-time winners Waterford IT in this afternoon's semi-final.

Mary I are outsiders with the bookmakers but manager Cregan insists that his players don't fear WIT.

"At this stage, we're not too worried about who they have or who they haven't," he said.

"We're Mary I, we're going out to play Waterford IT and we'll play what's in front of us. If they have inter-county players, fine, it's still a game to be won."

And WIT will underestimate Mary I at their peril, as Cregan can call on a number of top stars.

Limerick's Declan Hannon has been excellent at centre-back, with Clare's John Conlon, a Fitzgibbon Cup medallist with NUI Galway in 2010, leading the attack. Throw Luke O'Farrell (Cork), Brian O'Halloran (Waterford), Sean Curran (Tipperary) and Colm Galvin (Clare) in the mix and Mary I are a force to be reckoned with.

In the background, Tipperary's Timmy Hammersley and Limerick star Gavin O'Mahony have brought a wealth of experience as coaches.

And Cregan acknowledged: "All this talk about Eamonn Cregan managing Mary I is a load of codswallop. Okay, I'm there but these are the guys doing the work. This is player-driven and the players had to take responsibility.

"That's what they've done. I'm only picking up the hurling balls – Timmy and Gavin are the ones doing the coaching. Okay, we have two players who are exceptionally good (Hannon and Conlon), but the rest of our lads are willing to work, and work hard.

"And we have a highly intelligent team. Teams and players must be intelligent. Look back at the rugby last weekend – some of the things Ireland did were so off the wall, crazy. We ask these lads to play a simple game and when they're without the ball, they all defend. That's the work ethic."

Galway star Conor Cooney is unavailable as he has not been released by All-Ireland senior club hurling finalists St Thomas'.

Cregan confirmed: "We'd love for him to play but he played the last day and that was it. Unfortunately we'll have to do without him and it makes it more difficult for us."

Betting: WIT 4/5 Draw 8/1 Mary I 5/4

Verdict: WIT

Irish Independent

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