UNIVERSITY of Limerick survived Shane Dooley's sending-off to see off Cork IT yesterday. Offaly ace Dooley was shown a straight red card by Galway referee Alan Kelly 10 minutes from time following an off-the-ball altercation with Eoin Dillon.
Dooley's moment of madness could have cost UL dear as they led by just two points, 0-12 to 0-10, when he saw red. Colin Fennelly's 51st-minute point cut that lead back to the minimum but UL worked even harder with 14 men and held on to the finish.
UL had been expected to win the tie quite comfortably and approaching half-time, they led by 0-8 to 0-5. Colm Casey's late first-half point cut UL's interval advantage to just two points and midway through the second half, the sides were deadlocked at 0-10 each.
Dooley's Offaly team-mate Brian Carroll and Tipperary's Kieran Morris pushed UL two points clear again but the complexion of the game changed with Dooley's dismissal.
Cork IT will look back on their failure to capitalise on their numerical advantage towards the finish while they also hit 11 wides, a tally matched by UL.
UL, backboned by Tipp's All-Ireland senior medallist Paddy Stapleton, Seamus Hickey and captain Kieran Joyce, produced a superb defensive display when the chips were down in the second half. It wasn't quite a backs-against-the-wall display as they dominated for spells during the first half but they did show massive character after half-time when CIT drew level and Dooley was sent off.
Despite his early exit, Dooley finished as UL's top scorer with five points as Morris raised three white flags, including two fine scores from play.
Scorers -- UL: S Dooley 0-5 (4f), K Morris 0-3 (1f), B Carroll, B Beckett 0-2 each, B Bugler, P Cronin, A Quinn 0- 1 each. Cork IT: R Clifford 0-4 (3f); P O'Connor (1f), C Casey, C Fennelly 0-2 each; L McLoughlin, M Bowles, T Murphy (f) 0-1 each.
UL -- T Lowry; P Stapleton, M Walsh, S Hickey; PJ Delaney, B Bugler, K Joyce; P Cronin, D Burke; B Carroll, B Beckett, S Dooley; K Morris, P Kelly, A Quinn. Subs: T Connors for Kelly (41), P Murphy for Quinn (53).
CORK IT -- T Quaid; J O'Callaghan, E Dillon, J Herlihy; S McDonald, R Cashman, C Leahy; L McLoughlin, P O'Connor; M Bowles, C Casey, T Murphy; M O'Sullivan, C Fennelly, R Clifford. Subs: B Weathers for Herlihy (25), P Gould for Clifford (46), S White for O'Connor (53), S Daniels for Leahy (55).
Ref -- A Kelly (Galway).