Mary Immaculate deny University of Limerick to reclaim Fitzgibbon crown

Mary Immaculate College 2-14
University of Limerick 1-15

Mary Immaculate College claimed a third-ever Fitzgibbon Cup, at the expense of the University of Limerick in Abbeydorney, Kerry, on Saturday afternoon. A two-point victory in a somewhat low scoring encounter saw the South Circular Road side reclaim the famed silverware, after their emergence at the top tier of third-level hurling a decade ago.

The plucky underdogs were arguably deserving winners, denying their Limerick rivals a third title on the trot and inflicting a first defeat on them since 2020, when Mary I beat them in a quarter-final.

The scoring heroes were Devon Ryan and Colin O’Brien who both landed late frees, while it was Jason Gillane who set the tone with some long-range scores in the first half.

Wind assisted; the winners were 2-8 to 1-7 ahead at the midway point. Devon Ryan’s scrambled goal and a second which saw Gillanes free take a deflection off a UL defender had them in a good position.

However, Gearoid O’Connor’s late goal, set up by Adam English some hope of a revival. Indeed, UL dominated the third quarter to lead by two after seeing just a point for Mary I early on the second half.

O’Connor put them two ahead but the roles were reversed late on. Scores from Shane Meehan, Devon Ryan’s frees and the late O’Brien free pushed them two ahead and over the winning line.

Kilmallock’s Shane O’Brien got the better of clubmate Conor Hanley Clarke, with O’Brien’s move out to the middle third key for Jamie Wall’s side after a rocky third quarter.

UL will rue wasted possession in the closing stages, with the game played before an attentive and at times vocal support.

Mary Immaculate add to wins in 2016 and 2017, with their struggles in the last two seasons now forgotten about.
Scorers for Mary Immaculate College: Devon Ryan 1-4 (0-4 frees); Jason Gillane 1-3 (1-3 frees); Colin O’Brien (0-1 free), Diarmuid Ryan 0-2 each; Cathal Quinn, Ronan Power, Shane Meehan 0-1 each.Scorers for University of Limerick: Gearoid O’Connor 1-8 (0-6 frees, 0-1 s/l, 0-1 ’65); Sean O’Hanlon 0-2; Adam English, Brian O’Grady, Colin Coughlan, Colm O’Meara, Ian Byrne 0-1 each.

Mary Immaculate College: Jason Gillane (Patrickswell, Limerick); Adam Hogan (Feakle, Clare), Keith Ryan (Upperchurch-Drombane, Tipperary), PJ Fanning (Mount Sion, Waterford); Joe Caesar (Holycross-Ballycahill, Tipperary), Diarmuid Ryan (Cratloe, Clare), Ronan Power (Ballygunner, Waterford); Cathal Quinn (Cashel King Cormacs, Tipperary), Conor Hennessy (Nenagh Eire-Og, Tipperary); Colin O’Brien (C) (Chuchtown Liscarroll Gaels, Cork), Devon Ryan (Cashel King Cormacs, Tipperary), Fionn McDonagh (Moycullen, Galway); Vince Harrington (Na Piarsaigh, Limerick) Shane O’Brien (Kilmallock, Limerick), Shane Meehan (The Banner, Clare).

Subs: Diarmuid Cahill (Corofin, Clare) for Hennessey (46); Eoin Craddock (Holycross Ballycahill, Tipperary) for Harrington (51); Caoimhin Marren (Gort, Galway) for McDonagh (59).

University of Limerick: Conor Hanley Clarke (Kilmallock, Limerick); Fergal O’Connor (Effin, Limerick), TJ Brennan (Clarinbridge, Galway), Darragh Lohan (Wolfe Tones, Clare); Cian Galvin (Clarecastle, Clare), Mark Fitzgerald (Passage East, Waterford), Colin Coughlan (Ballybrown, Limerick); Brian O’Grady (Kilteely Dromkeen, Limerick), Brian O’Sullivan (Kanturk, Cork); Adam English (Doon, Limerick), Gearóid O’Connor (Moyne/Templetuohy, Tipperary), Sean O’Hanlon (Turloughmore, Galway); Mark Rodgers (Scariff, Clare), Aidan O’Connor (Ballybrown, Limerick).

Ian Bryne (Glenmore, Kilkenny) (0-1) for A O’Connor (h-t); Colm O’Meara (Clonlara, Clare) (0-1) for Sampson (35); John Conneally (Clooney Quin, Clare) for Coughlan (56); Patrick O’Donovan (Effin, Limerick) for Byrne (59), Ross Hayes (Crusheen, Clare) for O’Grady (60).

Referee: John Keenan (Wicklow).

GAA coverage on Sporting Limerick is brought to you in association with Noels Menswear, shop online here or visit in Dooradoyle, Limerick City or Newcastle West.

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