UL claim Electric Ireland Fitzgibbon Cup title
Electric Ireland Fitzgibbon Cup Final
UL 2-21 DCU DOCHAS EIREANN 2-15
By Denis Hurley at Mallow
UL claimed a sixth Fitzgibbon title – their third in five years – as they saw off a dogged DCU effort in Saturday’s final in Mallow.
Having recovered from an early three-point deficit to lead by 1-11 to 1-9 at half-time, UL used the strong wind to gradually increase their lead in the second half and a goal from substitute Pat Ryan on 53 minutes put them into a 2-19 to 1-13 lead which wasn’t going to be surrendered, a late goal from DCU’s Conor Burke notwithstanding.
First-time finalists DCU will reflect on the game’s early stages, when they had the breeze. Having had the opening point from Peter Hogan, they should have then goaled, but Gearóid Hegarty got a good hook on Patrick Curran and then Rian McBride’s follow-up effort was saved by David McCarthy in the Limerick goal.
In addition, DCU had three point attempts go wide and when UL pushed 0-4 to 0-1 ahead, it looked like they would take control. Credit to DCU though, with Darren Mullen and Joe O’Connor impressing in midfield they drew level and they took the lead on 16, 1-5 to 0-6, Curran netting a penalty after John Donnelly was fouled.
O’Connor made it 1-6 to 0-6, but UL bounced back through two Jason Forde points – he would score 1-10 in total – and it was Forde who rounded off the excellent team move involving Barry Murphy and John McGrath to put them 1-9 to 1-7 on front on 23.
Ronan Lynch made it 1-10 to 1-7 and though DCU replied with Donal Burke scores, a super Forde point rounded off the half for UL.
Burke had a response for DCU on the resumption, but they had lost O’Connor to injury and UL began to get a foothold, scoring eight of 10 points between the 33rd and 48th minutes, with McGrath, Tony Kelly and man of the match David Fitzgerald all on target.
While Burke’s eighth point kept DCU in touch, six behind, in the 52nd minute, UL made sure of the outcome as a counter-attack ended with McGrath feeding Ryan for the clinching goal.
DCU didn’t give up and were rewarded as Burke scored while Darragh Brennan was only denied by a super McCarthy save. It was UL’s day, however.
Scorers for UL: Jason Forde 1-10 (8fs, 165), Pat Ryan 1-0, John McGrath, Kevin O’Brien, David Fitzgerald, Ronan Lynch 0-2 each, Tony Kelly, Gearóid Hegarty, Ian Galvin 0-1 each.
Scorers for DCU: Donal Burke 0-9 (7fs), Patrick Curran (penalty), Conor Bourke 1-0 each, Killian Doyle, Joe O’Connor, Conor Delaney, Peter Hogan, John Donnelly, Darren Mullen 0-1 each.
UL: David McCarthy (Limerick); Aidan McGuane (Clare), Conor Cleary (Clare), Seán Finn (Limerick); Barry Heffernan (Tipperary), Gearóid Hegarty (Limerick), David Fitzgerald (Clare); Tony Kelly (Clare), Ronan Lynch (Limerick); Ian Galvin (Clare), Kevin O’Brien (Limerick), Tom Morrissey (Limerick); John McGrath (Tipperary), Jason Forde (Tipperary), Barry Murphy (Limerick).
Subs: Michael Casey (Limerick) for McGuane (36), Pat Ryan (Limerick) for O’Brien (47), David Gleeson (Tipperary) for Murphy (57), Brian Troy (Kilkenny) for Finn (59), Jordan Henley (Waterford) for Fitzgerald (60).
DCU DOCHAS EIREANN: Oisín Foley (Wexford); Conor McSweeney (Limerick), Eoghan O’Donnell (Dublin), Paul O’Dea (Dublin); Aaron Maddock (Wexford), Conor Delaney (Kilkenny), Paudie Foley (Wexford); Joe O’Connor (Wexford), Darren Mullen (Kilkenny); Fergal Whitely (Dublin), Rian McBride (Dublin), Donal Burke (Dublin); John Donnelly (Kilkenny), Peter Hogan (Waterford), Patrick Curran (Waterford).
Subs: Daire Grey (Dublin) for O'Connor (30), Killian Doyle (Westmeath) for Hogan (36), Eoghan Conroy (Dublin) for Foley (47), Conor Bourke (Dublin) for Whitely (51).
REFEREE: Fergal Horgan (Tipperary).