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Aaron Gillane netted a vital first half penalty for Mary I against NUIG at Cusack Park.
Aaron Gillane netted a vital first half penalty for Mary I against NUIG at Cusack Park.

Mary I reach Electric Ireland Fitzgibbon Cup decider


Electric Ireland Fitzgibbon Cup Semi-Final

MARY IMMACULATE COLLEGE 1-18 NUIG 0-18

By Daragh Small at Cusack Park, Ennis

Mary Immaculate College will face UCC in this year’s Fitzgibbon Cup final after Aaron Gillane scored 1-12 to edge out NUIG.

The 2017 champions were 1-8 to 0-9 ahead at half-time. Gillane blasted a penalty just before the break and that was the decisive score at the end while NUIG tried to find a leveller.

Evan Niland scored 0-13 for the losers, but a late comeback came up short when Brian Concannon’s late goal was disallowed.

There was little between them early on as Gillane scored from a free in the opening minute and Brian Concannon hit back before Niland’s first free in the fourth minute. 

Colin O’Brien drew the sides level and then Conor Whelan floated over a brilliant effort from the left wing. NUIG were in the ascendancy, but after Whelan scored, fellow Galway man Thomas Monaghan pointed up the other end. 

NUIG took a 0-5 to 0-3 lead with a couple of Evan Niland frees but they were pegged back again. Gillane scored a sideline cut from the left and his fourth point drew the sides level 0-6 to 0-6 with seven minutes left in the first half.

Gillane and Niland traded frees again before Gillane scored from play and Sean Kennedy levelled it for the sixth time.

Mary I did have a slight breeze at their backs in the first half and it looked as though it would be advantage NUIG heading into the second half.

However, in the second minute of added time at the end of the half Jack Fitzpatrick hauled Colin Guilfoyle down.

Fitzpatrick got a yellow card and Gillane stepped up to shoot low past Shane Hennessy. Niland scored a free in reply but NUIG were 1-8 to 0-9 in arrears at half-time.

Gillane scored first again on the resumption to leave a goal between the sides but NUIG were level again by the 37th minute.

Niland couldn’t miss and he scored points in the 32nd, 36th and 37th minutes to leave it 1-9 to 0-12. 

Inevitably Gillane provided the reprieve for Mary I, Niland hit straight back for NUIG again. 

It was end-to-end with Gillane and Niland trading scores again twice. But crucially Luke Meade fired over in the 49th minute and Guilfoyle doubled up on that effort.

Concannon reduced the deficit but Gary Cooney and Colin O’Brien pushed Mary I 1-16 to 0-15 in front. 

NUIG began to chase the game and Gillane picked off the scores before a late David Prendergast fetch from a Conor Whelan cross ensured Mary I sealed their place in the final.

Scorers for Mary Immaculate College: Aaron Gillane 1-12 (1-0 pen, 7fs, 1 sideline), Colin O’Brien 0-2, Gary Cooney 0-1, Thomas Monaghan 0-1, Luke Meade 0-1, Colin Guilfoyle 0-1.

Scorers for NUIG: Evan Niland 0-13 (10fs), Brian Concannon 0-2, Conor Whelan 0-1, Liam Forde 0-1, Sean Kennedy 0-1.

MARY IMMACULATE COLLEGE: Eoghan Cahill (Birr, Offaly); David Prendergast (Lismore, Waterford), Darren Browne (Kanturk, Cork), Eoghan Ryan (Cappawhite Gaels, Tipperary); Craig Morgan (Kilruane McDonaghs, Tipperary), Seamus Downey (Clonlara, Clare), Thomas Grimes (Na Piarsaigh, Limerick); Philip Hickey (Nenagh Éire Óg, Tipperary), Luke Meade (Newcestown, Cork); Aaron Gillane (Patrickswell, Limerick), Thomas Monaghan (Craughwell, Galway), Colin O’Brien (Liscarroll, Cork); Gary Cooney (O’Callaghan Mills, Clare), Colin Guilfoyle (Newmarket-on-Fergus, Clare), Michael O’Loughlin (Clonlara, Clare).

Subs: Brian Buckley (Shandrum, Cork) for Hickey (33), Hickey for Buckley (half-time), Ray McCormack (Borris-Ileigh, Tipperary) for O’Loughlin (41), Buckley for Hickey (53), Sean Burke (Grenagh, Cork) for O’Brien (53), Hickey fort Buckley (57), Buckley for Cooney (59).

NUIG: Shane Hennessy (Éire Óg Nenagh, Tipperary); Andrew Greaney (Craughwell, Galway), Jack Fitzpatrick (Killimordaly, Galway), Declan Connolly (Killimordaly, Galway); Sean Loftus (Turloughmore, Galway), Conor Caulfield (Kilconieron, Galway), Paul Hoban (Loughrea, Galway); Ian Fox (Sarsfields, Galway), Brian Concannon (Killimordaly, Galway); Mikey Lynch (Kilnadeema-Leitrim, Galway), Liam Forde (Ardrahan, Galway), Sean Kennedy (Kilmaley, Clare); Conor Sheedy (Roscrea, Tipperary), Conor Whelan (Kinvara, Galway), Evan Niland (Clarinbridge, Galway).

Subs: Darragh Burke (St Thomas’, Galway) for Lynch (27), Brian Corry (Sixmilebridge, Clare) for Greaney (half-time), Sam McArdle (Clarinbridge, Galway) for Fox (36), Shane Fletcher (Roscrea, Tipperary) for Kennedy (52).

REFEREE: Johnny Ryan (Tipperary).

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