Electric Ireland Fitzgibbon Cup round-up
By John Fallon
Holders Mary Immaculate College will travel to take on an impressive DCU Dochas Eireann in this year’s Electric Ireland Fitzgibbon Cup quarter-finals after they secured a dramatic late win over NUI Galway.
Meanwhile last year’s runners-up IT Carlow made it three wins from three outings, and DJ Carey’s men will now host Davy Fitzgerald’s LIT next week.
Elsewhere in the final eight, Group A winners UCD are at home to DIT in the all-Dublin tie, while UL welcome UCC to Limerick in a huge Munster derby.
There was high drama in the shootout between the champions of the last two years Mary I and a NUIG who had three of Galway’s starting 15 from the All-Ireland final on board — Young Hurler of the Year Conor Whelan and Mannion brothers Padraic and Cathal.
Whelan blasted home two goals in the second-half as the Galway college, needing just a draw to advance, hit back after trailing by 1-10 to 0-8 at the break.
Colin Guilfoyle got the goal for the holders seven minutes from the break, with Aaron Gillane in top form with frees.
Darragh Burke was also sharp on the placed balls for Galway and they seemed set to knock out the champions when Whelan’s second goal pushed them 2-15 to 1-14 in front with just six minutes remaining.
Mary I didn’t panic and after Gillane got them to within a point, up stepped former Clare minor Gary Cooney to first level the match and then deep into stoppage time landed the winner in a dramatic finish.
Meanwhile, Barry Murphy and David Gleeson scored the goals for a rampant UL as they booked a home quarter-final spot, with a 2-19 to 1-8 success at the WIT Sports Arena.
UL defeated DIT 3-29 to 4-17 in the previous round, and they held a comfortable 1-11 to 0-4 lead at half-time. Murphy found the net to give them a 1-5 to 0-3 lead early, and they dominated from there.
Gleeson added a second goal as the game moved into its final quarter, and Mark Fanning’s late strike was just a consolation for WIT who were dumped out after two defeats.
Last year’s beaten finalists IT Carlow warmed up for the quarter-finals with a 1-19 to 0-14 win over Trinity College at Santry Avenue, having already progressed as Group D winners.
IT Carlow had impressed in their victories against Mary I and NUI Galway in the previous rounds, and they held a 1-11 to 0-5 lead at half-time before they closed the game out in the second-half.
LIT made sure of their place in the knockout stages when they ousted Garda College by 3-18 to 1-8 under the floodlights in Templetuohy in Tipperary.
Clare’s Peter Duggan led the with a 2-10 haul while his Banner colleague David Reidy also found the net in a rampant second-half.
Their dominance wasn’t apparent on the scoreboard at the end of the opening half after they shot 10 wides, but they pushed on after the restart.
A goal from Stephen Murray kept Garda College in contention at the break when they trailed by 0-7 to 1-2.
But LIT never looked back once Duggan got his first goal and they picked off scores from all angles. Reidy found the net after 47 minutes and Duggan completed the rout in the closing stages.
Fitzgibbon Cup Quarter-Final draw
IT Carlow v LIT
UCD v DIT
UL v UCC
DCU Dochas Eireann v Mary I