UCC outclass GMIT, but improvement needed
UCC 0-16 GMIT 0-8
By John Fallon
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
UCC were much too good for their GMIT hosts at Carnmore, Galway yesterday, but whether they are good enough to collect their 41st Fitzgibbon Cup title remains to be seen. They always looked like winning this one, yet lacked a killer instinct. Agoal in the final quarter could have seen GMIT stage another late rally as they have done more than once this year.
But now they are through to another Fitzgibbon Cup weekend and the most prolific winners of the competition should have centre-back Kevin Moran - rested yesterday because of De La Salle's All-Ireland Club semi-final clash with Clarinbridge on Saturday - back for the concluding stages in Waterford the weekend after next.
UCC's dominance was never in doubt, yet they never quite put away a GMIT side who only managed one point from play. However, the UCC defence, especially their hard working half-back line of Jamie Nagle, Bryan O'Sullivan and Willie Egan, snuffed out the threat of a UCC goal.
UCC only trailed when Mayo's Kenny Feeney hit the first point of the game and with six players finding the target from frees, in addition to free-takers Kevin Keehan and Egan, UCC were always on the front foot. A brace of long range points from Daniel Roche and one apiece before the break from Shane Bourke and James Cassin saw UCC lead 0-10 to 0-4 at the break, all the home side's points coming from Feeney frees.
GMIT needed a good start to the second-half, but it was UCC who got it with another point from Bourke and Keehan's fourth free of the afternoon. GMIT, with Galway's Ger Mahon at centre-back and Limerick's Wayne McNamara at midfied doing most to rally them, enjoyed plenty of possession to make a tight finish but they lacked penetration and accuracy.
Eight wides to UCC's three told its own story and their only point from play over the hour came from Colin Egan after 38 minutes which reduced the deficit to 0-12 to 0-5.
UCC introduced Luke O'Farrell and he hit three second-half points. GMIT responded with a couple of points from frees by Thomas Flannery but were guilty of some poor wides which would have narrowed the margin.
Darach Honan seemed poised to kill the game as a contest after 51 minutes when he rounded his man and bore down on goal but the Clare man's piledriver was excellently saved by Joe Keane. However, O'Farrell's third point put further daylight between the sides just when it seemed GMIT might stage a late rally.
Scorers for UCC: K Keehan (0-4, 4fs); L O'Farrell (0-3); D Roche (0-2); S Bourke (0-2); D Brosnan (0-2); W Egan (0-1, 1f); D Honan (0-1); J Cassin (0-1).
GMIT: K Feeney (0-4, 4fs); T Flannery (0-3, 3fs); C Egan (0-1).
UCC: D McCarthy (Cork); C O'Sullivan (Cork), P O'Loughlan (Limerick), M Cahill (Tipperary); J Nagle (Cork), B O'Sullivan (Limerick), W Egan (Cork); P O'Mahony (Waterford), D Roche (Cork); S Bourke (Tipperary), K Keehan (Galway), D Brosnan (Cork); D Honan (Clare), J Cassin (Kilkenny), G Mulcahy (Limerick).
Subs: L O'Farrell for Cassin (38m), S O'Farrell (Cork) for Roche (47); D Kearney for Brosnan (52); S Harnedy (Cork) for Keehan (57).
GMIT: J Keane (Galway); T Martin (Offaly), C Flannery (Offaly), G O'Halloran (Gal); D Maher (Tipperary), G Mahon (Gal), S Hynes (Gal); K Waters (Offaly), W McNamara (Limerick); D Loughnane (Gal), C Egan (Offaly), A Lynch (Clare); K Feeney (Mayo), R Badger (Gal), J Liddy (Clare).
Subs: C Hands (Gal) for Martin (24); T Flannery (Gal) for Badger (37); J O'Gorman (Gal) for Feeney (45); N Mannion (Gal) for Loughnane (52); C Cannon (Gal) for Liddy (57).
Referee: M Haverty (Galway)
Dooley shines as classy UL march on
University of Limerick 0-15 UCD 0-12
By Fintan O'Toole
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
UL's aspirations of winning the Fitzgibbon Cup title remain intact, but only after they were forced to survive a stern examination from UCD in yesterday's quarter-final. After showing promising form to top Group D, UL's prospects looked favourable and they also had the added benefit of home advantage. But they needed to work hard and hold their nerve, particularly in the second half, to deliver the right result. UCD did not succumb easily and, inspired by the wonderful contribution of Tipperary senior Noel McGrath, they were in the mix until the finish.
In the closing quarter UCD peppered the UL goalmouth with a series of searching balls from sidelines or long-range frees by McGrath. The aerial prowess of Liam Rushe and Walter Walsh offered hope they could generate scores, yet UL's defence, led by Michael Walsh, Seamus Hickey and Brendan Bugler held firm.
UCD's shooting was awry on occasions and the deteriorating conditions also hampered their efforts. They failed to score in the last 14 minutes and after repelling their opponent's attacks, UL sealed their semi-final spot when Shane Dooley popped over a free in injury-time.
UL will enter the finals weekend in Waterford in buoyant mood. They possess a team with serious talent and in the opening quarter they soared 0-7 to 0-3 clear. The return of new Offaly captain Dooley after he missed their opening win over UCC was a boost and he offered an extra dimension going forward as well as proving to be ultra-reliable from placed balls. Patrick Cronin, Bill Beckett and David Burke split the posts from distance as well to provide UL with a nice cushion.
Despite a rocky opening to the game, UCD ploughed on. McGrath had already shown flashes of genius, especially a marvellous sideline cut he pointed in the 11th minute, as he began to orchestrate play before half-time. His freetaking was also impeccable, firing five balls over Thomas Lowry's crossbar in the period between the 20th and 30th minutes.
McGrath was supported by influential half-forwards John O'Loughlin and Rushe, while Óisin Gough and Neal Prendergast helped shore up the defence. The teams were tied 0-9 apiece at the interval and it was UCD who were more satisfied after their second quarter fightback.
Hurling into the wind in the second half, UL were forced to fight for the spoils. They did admirably. Between them Cronin and Burke managed to stifle McGrath's impact from open play at midfield, while UL made a concerted effort to keep puckouts and defensive clearances away from the Loughmore-Castleiney man. Crucially they also moved Seamus Hickey to the half-back line to keep tabs on Rushe and he did not allow the Dublin senior to shine under the high ball.
UCD edged 0-11 to 0-10 ahead by the 38th minute courtesy of a McGrath brace before UCD engineered a critical scoring spree. Paul Kelly, Dooley (2) and Cronin all found their range in a six-minute time frame to send their team in front 0-14 to 0-11. With scores in limited supply in the closing half, that proved to be a pivotal burst by UL.
Scorers for UL: S Dooley 0-7 (0-4 frees, 0-1 '65); P Cronin, P Kelly 0-2 each; D Burke, B Beckett, A Quinn, K Morris 0-1 each.
UCD: N McGrath 0-10 (eight frees, one sideline); C Allis, L Rushe 0-1 each.
UL: T Lowry (Tipperary); M Malone (Kilkenny), M Walsh (Kilkenny), S Hickey (Limerick); P Stapleton (Tipperary), B Bugler (Clare), K Joyce (Kilkenny); D Burke (Galway), P Cronin (Cork); J Gallagher (Tipperary), B Beckett (Kilkenny), S Dooley (Offaly); K Morris (Tipperary), P Kelly (Tipperary), A Quinn (Clare).
Subs: PJ Delaney (Kilkenny) for Malone (36), T Connors (Waterford) for Gallagher (47), P Murphy (Tipperary) for Beckett (55), N O'Murchu (Waterford) for Morris (60).
UCD: J Ryan (Galway); J Doyle (Wexford), S Cummins (Kilkenny), O Gough (Dublin); S Norton (Kilkenny), N Prendergast (Kilkenny), E O'Shea (Kilkenny); N McGrath (Tipperary), D Fox (Galway); L Rushe (Dublin), J O'Loughlin (Laois), C Allis (Limerick); K Hogan (Kilkenny), W Walsh (Kilkenny), D O'Connor (Dublin).
Subs: J Foley (Wexford) for Allis (49), C Brennan (Kilkenny) for O'Loughlin (59).
Referee: Alan Kelly (Galway)
Cork IT show true grit to hold off dogged St Pat's
Cork IT 1-11 St Patrick's College (Dublin) 1-9
By Diarmuid O'Flynn
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
THEY have neither the high profile nor the heavy-hitting personnel of the big guns, but CIT maintained their interest in the Fitzgibbon Cup with a narrow quarter-final win at their impressive Bishopstown complex yesterday. They were made to earn it, however, as a battling St Pat's fought back from a very poor start and brought it right down to the wire.
Played in terrible conditions, it was CIT straight into their stride, Kilkenny star Colin Fennelly using his pace to drive in from the corner and smash a low drive past Eoin Reilly, inside the first minute.
With four unanswered points (two well-struck frees by Patrick O'Connor, one each from Fennelly and corner-forward Ryan Clifford), CIT built on that lead and led 1-4 to 0-0 after quarter of an hour, playing into the wind.
That scoreline was flattering, however. With late call-up Tom Breen causing problems inside, St Pat's had created a plethora of chances but eight wides in that period told a tale. Eventually they got off the mark, a point in the 20th minute from free-taker Paudie Kehoe, and from there to the end, they were actually the better side. Three points they added before the break (Breen with two, centre-forward Johnjoe Farrell with the other), against two from CIT (frees by O'Connor and Clifford), to leave five between them (1-6 to 0-4).
The second half was when the Kilkenny-powered St Pat's really came to the fore. Points from Farrell and Kehoe, against another Clifford free, reduced the deficit to 1-7 to 0-6, and in the 37th minute, real trouble for the home side. A brilliant pass by St Pat's Paudie Kehoe found the unmarked Ian Duggan in the right corner and the Mullinavat marksman beat Tommy Quaid from point-blank range.
Bafflingly, though, with the strong wind at their backs, CIT were playing with a withdrawn attacker, leaving the dangerous Fennelly isolated up front and St Patrick's with an extra defender to cut off the supply. It made no sense, and from a situation in which CIT had looked like they were coasting to victory, now it was game on.
CIT hit back, yet another Clifford pointed free, but not for the first time in this campaign St Pat's dug in, Breen still causing problems inside. They were level in the 52nd minute, Kehoe converting two frees on Breen. CIT edged ahead again, Clifford's fourth pointed free after Fennelly drew the foul, but this was almost immediately negated when, at the other end, Kehoe notching his fifth point from placed balls. With Five minutes left, conditions making good hurling impossible, it was very much a case of who wanted it more. And this was when CIT showed true grit. A muscular point from Colm Casey put them a point up with four minutes left in normal time. They toughed out four minutes added time, Clifford with the final say with a free from 45m on the right sideline.
Scorers for CIT: R Clifford 0-6 (0-5f); C Fennelly 1-1; P O'Connor 0-3(0-3f); C Casey 0-1.
Scorers for St. Patrick's: P Kehoe 0-5 (0-5f); G Spollen 1-0; T Breen 0-2; JJ Farrell 0-2.
CIT (Cork unless stated): T Quaid (Limerick); J O'Callaghan, E Dillon, J O'Herlihy; S McDonnell, R Cashman, C Leahy; S White, L McLoughlin; P O'Connor (Clare), C Casey, M Bowles; M O'Sullivan, C Fennelly (Kilkenny), R Clifford.
Subs: P Gould for White (43); S Corcoran for O'Sullivan (48); E Cronin for Casey (58); S Daniels (Waterford) for O'Herlihy (inj. 59).
ST PATRICK'S: E Reilly (Laois); D Wafer (Kilkenny), A Murphy (Kilkenny), N Ring (Dublin); M Quilty (Dublin), B Travers (Wexford), C Whelan (Waterford); L Ryan (Kilkenny), I Whelan (Kilkenny); C Maher (Kilkenny), JJ Farrell (Kilkenny), A Dermody (Kilkenny); G Spollen (Offaly), P Kehoe (Carlow), T Breen (Kilkenny).
Subs: N Breen (Wexford) for Dermody (43); B Timmons (Tipperary) for Spollen (48). Blood sub: Spollen for Duggan 50/52.
Referee: P Casey (Waterford)