Jamie Wall’s Mary I team secure back to back Fitzgibbon Cups
Aaron Gillane scores 1-5 as IT Carlow are put to the sword at Pearse Stadium in Salthill
Mary I manager Jamie Wall speaks to his team after winning the Fitzgibbon Cup on Saturday. Photograph: Mike Shaughnessy/Inpho
Mary I 3-24 IT Carlow 1-19
Stephen ‘Picky’ Maher had a personal tally of 1-13 on the day, but he still came out on the losing side, as IT Carlow failed to overturn their damaging 0-16 to 0-8 half-time deficit.
Mary I claimed their first ever Fitzgibbon Cup title in 2016 when they beat UL 1-30 to 3-22 after extra-time in an epic at Bishopstown in Cork. And with many of that panel returning for 2017 they were favourites to retain their crown.
And after a powerful 0-19 to 0-14 win over their fellow Limerick heavyweights, the Davy Fitzgerald managed LIT on Friday in Dangan, Mary I were in red-hot form.
And Limerick star Gillane was their star throughout the campaign - he scored 12 points in the semi-final but had his thigh heavily strapped for the final.
Mary I dominated with the breeze at their backs in the first-half, and they led 0-16 to 0-8 despite five points from frees by Stephen Maher for IT Carlow.
Maher scored the first two points of the second-half too, but then Michael O’Neill notched a crucial point for Mary I, and Darragh O’Donovan’s 37th minute goal changed the course of the game.
From here, IT Carlow had to chase it, and after their semi-final against UCC had went to extra-time a day earlier, they didn’t have the required left in the tank.
Jamie Wall’s team raced clear and a penalty goal from Gillane in the 49th minute ended it as a contest.
Substitute Pa Ryan added a further effort late on, after Stephen Maher scored a consolation goal for IT Carlow.
Mary Immaculate College: C Barrett; D Sweeney, R English, E Quirke; C Twomey (0-3), R Maher (0-4, 0-3 frees), A Flynn; C Galvin (0-1), S Cahill (0-1); D O’Donovan (1-3, 0-2 side-line), M O’Neill (0-3), A Gillane (1-5, 1-0 pen, 0-4 frees); T Gallagher, C Lynch (0-3), L Meade (0-1).
Subs: T Monaghan for Gallagher (half-time), P Ryan (1-0) for O’Neill (55 mins), S Burke for Gillane (63 mins).
IT Carlow: E Rowland; D Palmer, K Hannafin, R Browne; R Moran, D Healy, D O’Hanlon; J Doyle, C Dunford (0-2); M Kavanagh (0-1), C Dwyer (0-2), S Maher (1-13, 0-12 frees); C Bolger (0-1), M Russell, J Fagan.
Subs: T Nolan for Russell (50 mins).
Referee: Brian Gavin (Offaly).