Gary Kirby’s University of Limerick are through to the Electric Ireland Fitzgibbon Cup Final – against DCU in Mallow on Saturday week – courtesy of a superb 4-16 to 0-19 semi-final win over IT Carlow at WIT Sportsground on Tuesday night.
Tipperary stars Jason Forde and John McGrath hit a combined 3-09 over the 60 minutes with DJ Carey’s Carlow IT side simply having no answer to UL’s skill and scoring prowess.
The opening twenty minutes saw the sides level on seven occasions until John McGrath cut through the Carlow defence in the 27th minute and laid the ball off to his county team mate Jason Forde who finished to the back of the net.
Gary Kirby then brought on Na Piarsaigh star Ronan Lynch for Clare senior David Fitzgerald who picked up a knock and left the field. It meant UL would carry a 1-12 to 0-10 lead into the break.
Carlow responded after the break and reduced the deficit to just two points by minute 44 courtesy of a series of points form Martin Kavanagh (2), Richie Leahy and Mark Russell but once again UL’s goal threat would prove crucial.
Two quick fire goals in as many minutes from John McGrath and sub Pat Ryan killed any remaining Carlow hopes of a comeback and with a healthy 3-14 to 0-15 lead, the game was effectively over as a contest.
Carlow could see their Fitzgibbon hopes slipping through their fingers and desperately went in search of gaols but UL kept the door shut firm and ensured that there would be no late drama.
Jason Forde dispatched a penalty with time running out to further highlight UL’s dominance and Gary Kirby’s star studded side can now look forward to a final date with DCU on Saturday February 24 in Mallow GAA Complex.
See Pat Ryan score UL’s third goal their semi final encounter. Video credit HE GAA.
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It was a UL starting XV that included six Limerick players, namely David McCarthy (Glenroe) in goals; defenders Sean Finn (Bruff) and the very busy Gearoid Hegarty (St. Patrick’s); attackers Kevin O’Brien (Patrickswell), Barry Murphy (Doon) and Ahane’s Tom Morrissey. Ronan Lynch of Na Piarsaigh and Pat Ryan (Doon), who fired home a lovely goal, were introduced as substitutes.
UL: David McCarthy, Aidan McGuane, Conor Cleary, Sean Finn, Barry Heffernan, David Fitzgerald, Gearoid Hegarty, Tony Kelly (0-02), Paul Maher, Ian Galvin (0-2), Kevin O’Brien (0-01), Tom Morrissey (0-01), John McGrath (1-04), Jason Forde (2-05, 1-00p, 0-02f, 0-01’65), Barry Murphy (0-01).
Subs: Ronan Lynch for David Fitzgerald (24m), Pat Ryan (1-0) for Barry Murphy (38m), Michael Mullins for Paul Maher (53m), Stephen Roche for Kevin O’Brien (60m).
IT Carlow: Enda Rowland, Shane Reck, Kevin Hannafin, Ross Brown, Michael Redmond, James Doyle, Micheal Harney, Colin Dunford (0-02), Richard Leahy (0-02), Sean Downey, Martin Kavanagh (0-08, 0-5f), Charles Dwyer, Jack Fagan (0-01) , Mark Russell (0-03), Cathal Dunbar (0-03).
Subs: Seamus Casey for Sean Downey (49m).
Referee: Cathal McAllister (Cork).