UCC pip DCU in Electric Ireland Fitgibbon Cup semi-final
Electric Ireland Fitzgibbon Cup semi-final
UCC 0-18 DCU 0-17
By Daragh Small at the DCU Sportsgrounds
Reigning champions UCC will face IT Carlow in this year’s Electric Ireland Fitzgibbon Cup final after Mark Coleman scored a crucial sideline cut in the 65th minute as the 39-time winners got the better of DCU Dóchas Éireann at the DCU Sportsgrounds.
UCC absolutely dominated the first quarter with Kerry ace Shane Conway once again on form from frees. But Rory O’Connor kept tabs and the introduction of Ballyhale's Mullen brothers help DCU gain the initiative for a 0-11 to 0-11 half-time scoreline.
O’Connor popped over a couple of frees on the resumption and DCU were on top after that but they couldn’t wriggle clear with Coleman winning it.
Darragh Fitzgibbon blitzed from midfield for his and UCC’s first point of the game inside the opening minute as the wind continued to play havoc on the day.
DCU fired six wides in the opening ten minutes while they failed to get grips with proceedings and UCC went 0-5 to 0-1 in front.
O’Connor’s second-minute free kept the challengers alive in the game but Shane Kingston popped over an effort before Conway started his scoring burst.
Conway scored three frees to drag UCC four clear and DCU goalkeeper Oisin Foley was performing heroics to deny Kingston and Fitzgibbon a couple of certain goals.
DCU were still right in the game even though their wides tally continue to rise and with points from Conway (two), Kingston and Robbie O’Flynn, UCC had raced into a 0-9 to 0-4 advantage.
The fightback began when James Bergin scored his second point in the 21st minute. Back-to-back points from James Burke and O’Connor brought DCU within a goal of their opponents.
Darren Mullen and Adrian Mullen were sprung from the substitutes bench and that gave DCU a massive boost.
When Kingston scored in the 28th minute, his third of the half, UCC were 0-11 to 0-8 in front but Darren Mullen, O’Connor and Adrian Mullen scored rallying points before the interval.
DCU were awarded a free right from the throw-in at the start of the second half and O’Connor dispatched to give them the lead for the first time in the match.
Inevitably, Conway provided the reprieve for the holders, and even though O’Connor scored three points in-a-row, UCC never gave up.
Conway hit back and then points from substitutes Neil Montgomery and Michael O’Halloran reduced the deficit to the minimum.
It was 0-16 to 0-15 in favour of the hosts with ten minutes of normal time remaining.
The game had caught fire and after Donal Burke put DCU a couple in front, Montgomery and Mark Kehoe answered that score.
Extra-time looked imminent but Coleman popped up to land the decisive score late on.
Scorers for UCC: Shane Conway 0-8 (0-7f), Shane Kingston 0-3, Neil Montgomery 0-2, Darragh Fitzgibbon 0-1, Robbie O’Flynn 0-1, Michael O’Halloran 0-1, Mark Kehoe 0-1, Mark Coleman 0-1 (0-1sl).
Scorers for DCU: Rory O’Connor 0-11 (0-10f), James Bergin 0-2, Donal Burke 0-1, James Burke 0-1, Adrian Mullen 0-1, Darren Mullen 0-1
UCC: Shane Hurley; Killian O’Dwyer, Robert Downey, David Lowney; Paddy Cadell, Paddy O’Loughlin, David Griffin; Mark Coleman, Niall O’Leary; Robbie O’Flynn, Shane Conway, Conor Boylan; Darrgh Fitzgibbon, Mark Kehoe, Shane Kingston. Subs: Michael O’Halloran for Griffin (39), Neil Montgomery for Boylan (44), Bill Sheehan for O’Flynn (52), Andrew Casey for Fitzgibbon (63).
DCU: Oisin Foley; Conor Firman, Paddy Smyth, Conor Burke; Lee Gannon, Brian Ryan, Evan Shefflin; Damien Reck, Rian McBride; John Donnelly, James Burke, Rory O’Connor; James Bergin, Jim Ryan, Donal Burke. Subs: Darren Mullen for Shefflin (24), Adrian Mullen for J Ryan (26), Fergal Whitely for J Burke (52), Fintan MacGibb for Bergin (61).
Referee: Fergal Horgan (Tipperary).