University of Limerick finally saw off a stubborn DCU outfit in Mallow this afternoon for a third title in five years and sees the city’s recent dominance of the competition continue.
The Dublin side who were in their first every final held an early 1-6 to 0-6 lead in the opening half and were going toe to toe with their more illustrious opponents. However, UL rallied and tacked on a series of scores to lead by two at the break, 1-11 to 1-09.
Gary Kirby’s side were the bookmakers favourites to take the title but DCU opened well with Peter Hogan point early on. Patrick Curran then had goal chance but the intervention of Gearoid Hegarty snuffed out the chance and the Limerick county players hooked Curran with David McCarty saving the follow up attempt.
UL then added four pints in a row with Jason Forde notching two but DCU again stuck back with points from Donnelly, Delaney and Burke levelling for the Dublin College.
Trailing by a point, Fergal Horgan awarded DCU a penalty which Patrick Curran netted. The goal was followed by another Joe O’Conner point to put the Dublin side three points ahead.
UL were the bookies favourites pregame and started finally to show their hand with their first goal of the game when John McGrath offloaded to John Forde who drilled the ball to the back the net to put the Limerick into a 1-9 to 1-7 half time lead.
Burke added a point for DCU to but UL turned on the style to land 5 of the next 6 points with Forde deadly from placed ball.
Pat Ryan scored UL’s second goal with seven minutes remaining to stretch their advantage even further. Despite a late Conor Bourke goal, it was too little, too late and UL had more than enough to see out the remaining minutes and take the title.
CHAMPIONS!!! John McGrath lifts the Fitzgibbon Cup! #ULABÚ
Posted by UL GAA on Saturday, February 24, 2018
Scorers for UL: Jason Forde 1-10 (0-8 frees, 0-1 65), John McGrath, Kevin O’Brien, David Fitzgerald, Ronan Lynch 0-2 each, Tony Kelly, Gearóid Hegarty, Ian Galvin 0-1 each.
Scorers for DCU: Donal Burke 0-9 (0-7 frees), Patrick Curran (penalty), Conor Bourke 1-0 each, Killian Doyle, Joe O’Connor, Conor Delaney, Peter Hogan, John Donnelly, Darren Mullen 0-1 each.
UL: David McCarthy (Limerick), Aidan McGuane (Clare), Conor Cleary (Clare), Seán Finn (Limerick), Barry Heffernan (Tipperary), Gearóid Hegarty (Limerick), David Fitzgerald (Clare), Tony Kelly (Clare), Ronan Lynch (Limerick), Ian Galvin (Clare), Kevin O’Brien (Limerick), Tom Morrissey (Limerick), John McGrath (Tipperary), Jason Forde (Tipperary), Barry Murphy (Limerick)
Subs: Michael Casey (Limerick) for McGuane (36), Pat Ryan (Limerick) for O’Brien (47), David Gleeson (Tipperary) for Murphy (57), Brian Troy (Kilkenny) for Finn (59), Jordan Henley (Waterford) for Fitzgerald (60)
DCU: Oisín Foley (Wexford), Conor McSweeney (Limerick), Eoghan O’Donnell (Dublin), Paul O’Dea (Dublin), Aaron Maddock (Wexford), Conor Delaney (Kilkenny), Paudie Foley (Wexford), Joe O’Connor (Wexford), Darren Mullen (Kilkenny), Fergal Whitely (Dublin), Rian McBride (Dublin), Donal Burke (Dublin), John Donnelly (Kilkenny), Peter Hogan (Waterford), Patrick Curran (Waterford)
Subs: Daire Grey (Dublin) for O’Connor (30, injured), Killian Doyle (Westmeath) for Hogan (36), Eoghan Conroy (Dublin) for Foley (47), Conor Bourke (Dublin) for Whitely (51)
Referee: Fergal Horgan (Tipperary)