UL put three past UCD to reach Fitzgibbon Cup final
UCD’s double dream is over as Tipperary starlet John McGrath proves the differece
UCD’s Colm Cronin tackles UL’s Brian Stapleton during UL’s Fitzgibbon Cup semi-final win. Photograph: Inpho
UL 3-14 UCD 0-16
Tipperary’s John McGrath wrecked UCD’s double dream as holders UL reached another Fitzgibbon Cup final following an improved second-half display at Cork IT on Friday.
He struck for the first of his two goals after 41 minutes, when deflecting Jason Forde’s free to the net for a 1-9 to 0-10 lead.
And McGrath eventually killed off UCD’s stubborn challenge by catching Conor Martin’s long range delivery and firing past Darragh Holohan three minutes from the end.
And he turned provider a minute later, when picking out the unmarked Tommy Heffernan for UL’s third goal.
The champions struggled to make an impression on a solid UCD defence during a low-key opening half with only the magnificent Tom Morrissey capable of making an impact at centre-forward.
Some poor shooting also added to the Limerick students’ struggles, registering half-a-dozen wides in the period as UCD led by 0-9 to 0-7 at the break.
And it could have been more but for a brilliant save by goalkeeper Paul Maher just before the interval, when he diverted Ross King’s stinging shot around the post.
UL were a different side on the resumption and it needed a point-blank save from UCD netminder Darragh Holden to keep out Cathal McInerney’s strong shot.
There was no stopping UL, however, as they added 1-5 without response to surge 1-12 to 0-10 in front before UCD rallied with four answered points, including a super effort from Kilkenny’s James Maher.
But UL came again with a flourish near the end to book their place in the decider as UCD’s efforts for that much-needed goal failed to materialise against a sturdy UL rearguard.
UL: P Maher; S Roche, J Browne, captain, G Ryan; B Heffernan, J Forde (0-3 frees), B Stapleton; A McGuane, K Hehir; D Fitzgerald, J McGrath (2-5, four frees), C Martin; K O’Brien, T Morrissey (0-4), C McInerney (0-1). Subs: T Heffernan (1-1) for Fitzgerald 46 mins, A Murphy for McInerney 51 mins, G Hegarty for Forde 59 mins, PJ Scully for O’Brien 61 mins, B Maher for Morrissey 62 mins
UCD: D Holohan; P Hannon, S Murphy, J Madden; H Lawlor, C O’Shea, captain, S Moran; E Conroy (0-1), C O’Callaghan; J Maher (0-3), C Cronin (0-2), P Guinan (0-2); R King, O Rorke (0-8, seven frees, one’65), C Devitt. Subs: J Malone for Conroy 43 mins, T Phelan for King 45 mins, J O’Connor for Moran 46 mins, C Prendergast for Devitt 50 mins, J Mullaney for Cronin 56 mins
Referee: C McAllister (Cork)