DCU leave it late against Mary I who face anxious wait in Fitzgibbon Cup

There was late drama in Limerick as Mary I’s chances of reaching the knockout stage were slashed.

DCU booked their place in the knockout stages of the Fitzgibbon Cup with a 2-21 to 2-18 win over Mary I this afternoon.

A late Eddie Gibbons goal was ultimately the difference as the keepers long range free ended up in the Mary I net.

Mary I are not eliminated but need DCU to beat SETU Carlow by more than three next week to qualify. Anything else and Mary I will be out.

The visitors got off to the perfect start as Conor Hennessy netted within 90 seconds. Goalkeeper Eoin Gibbons then added the first of his long-range frees.

Mary I hit four unanswered to draw level after a quarter of an hour, Declan McLoughlin (2), Diarmuid Ryan and Diarmuid Cahill finding the target.

DCU replied with three on the bounce but Mary I had as many in return, Devon Ryan with a pair of frees and Ronan Power also finding the target.

The hosts took the lead for the first time on 26 minutes, Devon Ryan deceiving the DCU keeper from a 21-yard free as it sailed past Gibbons.

DCU had the answers to regain the lead but which was 1-11 to 1-10 at the half.

Mary I started the brighter with a pair from Cahill and Colin O’Brien. But again DCU were equal to the task before moving two clear. 

That was the gap until Diarmuid Ryan fired over a fine strike. McLoughlin then followed up with a well-taken goal to move them 2-14 to 1-15 ahead with fifteen to play.

But DCU kept chipping away at the lead as they exchanged the next four scores approaching the final ten minutes.

Mary I had their first three-point lead when McLoughlin took his tally to 1-3 after 55 minutes.

But a quick fire double however had the gap back to one entering the final three minutes. A fine Diarmuid Cahill run saw him fouled with Ryan making no mistake from the resulting free. 

Yet, DCU had the next score to reduce it to one before Gibbons’ long-range free went straight into the net to restore DCU’s advanatage

Mary I did have the final chance but Jason Gillane’s well-struck effort from the 21′ was stopped on the DCU line as they held on to qualify.

Scorers for Mary I: Devon Ryan (1-9, 8frees), Declan McLaughlin (1-3), Diarmuid Cahill (0-3), Ronan Power, Colin O’Brien, Diarmuid Ryan (0-1 each).

Scorers for DCU: Ross Banville (0-7, 5frees), Eddie Gibbons (1-2 frees), Conor Hennessy (1-1), Richie Lawlor 0-3, Jim Ryan, Martin O’Connell (0-2 each) Eoin Daly, Rian Boran, Joe Barrett and Conor Kehoe 0-1 each.

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