Sunday 19 November 2017

McGrath eyes UCD glory to end college days on high

Noel McGrath
Noel McGrath

Jackie Cahill

TIPPERARY ace Noel McGrath wants to sign off his third-level college days with a Fitzgibbon Cup winner's medal.

McGrath has been UCD's shooting star during this year's competition, amassing a haul of 0-26 in three games.

The 2010 All-Ireland SHC medallist hit 0-4 against Limerick IT, before adding 0-10 as Tom O'Mahoney's side booked a place in the last eight.

And McGrath was in scintillating form in the quarter-final victory over pre-tournament favourites University of Limerick, finishing with 0-12.

The 22-year-old now has his sights firmly set on taking down holders UCC in this afternoon's mouthwatering semi-final at Carnmore GAA club.

Helping UCD out in an advisory role is one of McGrath's childhood heroes, Nicky English.

Tipp's 2001 All-Ireland winning manager is a Fitzgibbon Cup legend, having won five titles in a row with UCC from 1981-85 – he was named on the Fitzgibbon Cup team of the century last year.

Experience

"He's been good for us. He has a lot of experience. It's great to have him on board," McGrath said.

"The standard is very high. For the last two years, we've had good teams but we lost two quarter-finals.

"Thankfully we got over that hurdle this year, but now we're playing a very strong UCC team.

"They have a lot of experience and we know that we have a big task on our hands."

UCD have not won the Fitzgibbon Cup since 2001 and McGrath admits that the time has come to end that famine.

"It's a long time and a lot of good players have come through the college in that time," he said.

"There have been a lot of strong teams over the last 10 or 12 years, but for UCD that is a long time. This is my last chance and it would be a nice way to finish up my hurling in college."

Betting: UCD 4/7 Draw 9/1 UCC 13/8

Verdict: UCD

Irish Independent

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