The 2017 independent.ie Fitzgibbon Cup semi-finals take place today in the NUIG sports complex in Dangan to determine who will face off in tomorrow’s final at 1pm in the same venue.
IT Carlow will face off against UCC in the first semi at 1pm which will be followed by the all Limerick clash of LIT and defending champions Mary I. All four teams have been very impressive thus far with both ties expected to be close affairs.
IT Carlow V UCC Dangan 1pm
The IT Carlow team that overcame a UL team with a fantastic line out in the Fitzgibbon Cup Quarter finals will now take on UCC in the Semi-finals today in Dangan at 1pm.
The exceptional work of former all star and all Ireland champion DJ Carey has been rewarded as this is the Colleges first time in the semi finals in numerous years.
Carlow’s panel are extremely strong and if there is one thing we know they look for and that is goals as they scored 4 against the University of Limerick through Chris Bolger, Mark Russell, Martin Kavanagh and Jack Fagan who have been fantastic this season for the Carlow college and will be hoping to continue this goal streak in today’s game.
Other players such as Colin Dunford, Stephen Maher and Kevin Kelly has all been all been brilliant this season as well.
UCC are not a force to be reckoned with as they have won the Fitzgibbon Cup over 38 times which is a phenomenal record to have.
They had a good win over DCU in the last round scoring 1-18 to 1-16. A goal by Michael Breen who rattled the net in the last few stages of the game being the decisive moment of the match.
For UCC Cork’s Alan Cadogan, Waterford’s Tom Devine and Jamie Barron, and Tipperary’s Michael Breen and Seamus Kennedy have been the stand out performers for the Cork University. Something that IT Carlow Manager DJ Carey will have looked closely at.
It will be a great game to watch, and we can also be sure that it will be a thriller thoughout.
UCC Squad: J Barry; S Roche, C Spillane, I Kenny; S Kennedy, C Gleeson, R Cahalane; J Barron, C O’Leary; G O’Brien, T Devine, M O’Brien; A Cadogan, J O’Flynn, A Spillane, M O’Connor, M O’Halloran, E Gunning.
IT Carlow Squad: E Rowland, D Palmer, K Hannafin, R Brown, R Moran, D Healy, D O’Hanlon, J Doyle, C Dunford, C Dwyer, M Russell, M Kavanagh, J Fagan, S Maher, C Bolger, T Gallagher, M O’Hanrahan, M Redmond, S Phelan.
LIT V Mary I- 3pm
There will be undoubted Limerick interest in this tie which will guarantee a Limerick college in the final of the Fitzgibbon cup for the 4th year in a row.
Defending champions Mary I, under the stewardship of Jamie Wall, will be hoping to defend the title which the one for the first time last year. LIT, once again managed by Davy Fitz will be hoping to win back the title for the first time in 10 years.
Both teams can call on their fair share of Limerick men to help them progress to the final. For Mary I there are 4 Limerick natives in their starting 15 with Patrickswell duo Cian Lynch and Aaron Gillane along with Doon pair Richie English and Darragh O’Donovan.
Na Piarsaigh’s Thomas Grimes is named as one of the replacements and is likely to make an appearance during the contest. Gillane has been particularly impressive thus far notching 5-15 in his last two outings for the college, which have led to calls for him being reintroduced to the Limerick Senior set up.
The tournament favourites also have plenty of inter county experience such as All-Ireland winners Ronan Maher and Colm Galvin as well as Cork’s rising star Luke Meade. All in all, the teacher training college can call upon 11 of last years winning panel.
As for the Moylish based outfit there are no fewer than 8 Limerick men in their panel. Kildimo/Pallaskenry’s Barry O’Connell will anchor the defence from centre back. Patrickswell’s Diarmaid Byrnes and Na Piarsaigh’s David Dempsey will roam around the field looking to make a significant impact as they do for club and county.
These three men were all part of the Limerick U/21 side that won the Ireland in 2015. Other locals on the panel are Jack Quaid (Effin), Andrew La Touche Cosgrave (Monaleen), Kieran Herlihy (Monagea), Niall Maher (Doon) and Mark Sheehan (Ballybrown). LIT can also call upon the Bennett brothers Kieran and Shane from Waterford as well as Clare’s Peter Duggan and David Reidy.
LIT have a 100% record so far this year heading into the weekend, with an impressive 1-20 to 1-13 win over UCD in the quarter-final under their belt. Mary I have also been on top form this spring with their only blip a draw against fellow semi-finalists IT Carlow in the group stage. MIC were superb in their quarter final, putting NUIG to the sword 4-18 to 1-16.
Although Mary I are slight favourites and defending champions, there should be no more than the puc of a ball between these two sides when the dust settles. However, LIT’s hunger to win this great competition for the first time in a decade may see them edge it.