NUIG knock UL out of Fitzgibbon Cup
Electric Ireland Fitzgibbon Cup
NUIG 1-19 UL 0-17
By Daragh Small
Evan Niland scored 0-11 as NUIG kept their Fitzgibbon Cup hopes alive with a brilliant victory over holders UL.
The reigning champions had Clare defender Conor Cleary sent off as they bowed out of the competition at Dangan with a second defeat.
This win means NUIG will travel to UCC with both sides still in with a chance of topping Group A.
Jeff Lynskey’s side excelled with the wind at their backs in the opening half and it was Michael Lynch who scored the crucial goal for NUIG.
That goal, and seven points from Evan Niland, meant the hosts took a strong 1-12 to 0-8 lead into half-time. And were it not for the five frees from Barry Murphy UL would have been in even more trouble.
The Limerick All-Ireland winner scored first after two minutes before Conor Sheedy levelled the game for NUIG.
The sides were level on three occasions in that first half but points from Darragh Burke, Niland (two) and Galway’s Conor Whelan helped NUIG take control.
They were 0-7 to 0-3 in front by the 11th minute and even though UL closed the gap again the decisive score arrived in the 21st minute.
Conor Caulfield’s endeavour helped Liam Forde get through on goal, and although he looked to have scuppered the chance, the ball went in Lynch’s direction, and without hesitation he blasted to the net.
It was the perfect time to score a goal and while Niland added points either side of a score from the brilliant Sean Loftus, NUIG took a 1-12 to 0-8 lead into the break.
UL needed to start fast in the second half and Limerick’s Barry Nash was brought on at half-time, but Cleary’s sending off cost them dearly.
Lynch and Niland combined to give NUIG a 1-14 to 0-8 lead by the 33rd minute. Two minutes later Cleary got his first yellow and then in the 42nd minute he hauled down Forde. Referee Fergal Horgan brandished a second yellow card.
Cleary had been inspirational up to that stage and Niland’s tenth point meant NUIG were now 1-17 to 0-13 ahead with 17 minutes of normal time remaining.
There was a fight back from Gary Kirby’s men late on but four points in a row wasn’t enough to rescue their cause.
Scorers for NUIG: Evan Niland 0-11 (0-9f), Michael Lynch 1-2, Conor Whelan 0-2, Sean Loftus 0-1, Darragh Burke 0-1, Conor Sheedy 0-1, Brian Corry 0-1.
Scorers for UL: Barry Murphy 0-11 (0-10f), Michael Carey 0-1, Jack Shelly 0-1, Jake Morris 0-1, Kevin O’Brien 0-1, Jack Goulding 0-1, Tom Morrissey 0-1.
NUIG: Shane Hennessy (Nenagh Éire Óg, Tipperary); Michael Lynch (Kilnadeema-Leitrim, Galway), Jack Fitzpatrick (Killimordaly, Galway), Declan Connolly (Killimordaly, Galway); Conor Caulfield (Kilconieron, Galway), Paul Hoban (Loughrea, Galway), Andrew Geaney (Craughwell, Galway); Sean Loftus (Turloughmore, Galway), Ian Fox (Sarsfields, Galway); Darragh Burke (St Thomas’, Galway). Conor Whelan (Kinvara, Galway), Liam Forde (Ardrahan, Galway); Conor Sheedy (Roscrea, Tipperary), Evan Niland (Clarinbridge, Galway), Brian Concannon (Killimordaly, Galway).Substitutes: Sam McArdle (Clarinbridge, Galway) for Greaney (46), Enda Fahy (Michael Cusack’s, Galway) for Forde (48), Brian Corry (Sixmilebridge, Clare) for Sheedy (50).
UL: Barry Hogan (Kiladangan, Tipperary); Aidan McGuane (Kilmaley, Clare), Evan Cody (Dicksboro, Kilkenny), Jordan Henley (Tallow, Waterford); Michael Carey (Young Irelands, Kilkenny), Conor Cleary (Kilmaley, Clare), Brian Cody (St Martin’s, Kilkenny); Ronan Lynch (Na Piarsaigh, Limerick), Jack Shelly (Mullinahone, Tipperary); Ian Galvin (Clonlara, Clare), Kevin O’Brien (Patrickswell, Limerick), Tom Morrissey (Ahane, Limerick); Jake Morris (Nenagh Éire Óg, Tipperary), Martin Keoghan (Tullaroan, Kilkenny), Barry Murphy (Doon, Limerick).
Substitutes: Barry Nash (South Liberties, Limerick) for O’Brien (17, blood), O’Brien for Nash (18), Nash for Lynch (half-time), Jack Goulding (Ballyduff, Kerry) for Morris (39), Shane Veale (Kilmacud Crokes, Dublin) for Keoghan (47), JP Lucey (Shamrocks, Waterford) for Veale (60).
Referee: Fergal Horgan (Tipperary).