UCD 2-13 LIT 0-11
By Darragh Twomey at Belfield
An outstanding individual display from Wexford’s Jack Guiney helped UCD overcome Limerick IT in a typically mouth-watering Fitzgibbon Cup tie at Belfield on Thursday afternoon.
Guiney helped himself to 1-3 from the wing-forward position in the Group C clash, and it was he who opened the scoring in the first minute of play with a well taken point. Michael Brennan doubled the UCD score-line a minute later when he tapped over from close range.
Gary Guilfoyle got LIT off the mark from a placed ball, and Clare senior hurler Sean Collins brought the sides level by striking over from 45-yards out after soloing with the ball from the halfway line.
Jack Guiney’s second point of the game was struck over from the right-wing, but his efforts were cancelled out at the other end by Guilfoyle who was in fine free-taking form, albeit with the aid of a very strong wind for the opening thirty minutes.
Wexford-man Gearret Sinnot got his name on the score-sheet for UCD midway through the first half after James Gannon assisted him with a sublime cross-field ball, but again Gary Guilfoyle showed off his excellence from dead-ball situations as he brought his side level for the third time in the opening quarter.
This end-to-end exchanging of scores became a theme in the first half as neither side managed to take control of the game. Jack Guiney added a point to his tally, but Padraig Hickey followed the set trend by matching his opponent a minute later at the other end of the field.
UCD had a brilliant goal-scoring opportunity denied by LIT goalkeeper Andrew Fahy who excellently stopped Jack Guiney’s effort from hitting the back of the net.
Gary Guilfoyle converted two more free’s for LIT before the end of the half, but a point from Paddy Murphy and a late brace of free’s from captain Noel McGrath were enough to send UCD into the break with a 0-7 to 0-6 lead.
Dublin Senior hurling boss Anthony Daly was in attendance and he would have been impressed by Cuala-man Oisin Gough’s efforts in the UCD midfield. He played in front of fellow Dub Rory O’Carroll who vacated the centre-back position for the majority of the game, and together they broke down promising looking LIT attacks on numerous occasions. Matt McCaffrey and Dillon Mulligan also made appearances for UCD but didn’t get a chance to make any major impact on the game as their introductions were soon followed by the final whistle.
Gary Guilfoyle picked up where he left off in the first-half and hit a free over the bar against the wind.
However, from the resulting puck-out, the ball was brilliantly worked down the spine of the UCD team as far as full-forward Michael Brennan. Brennan then skilfully turned with the sliotar in-hand and went bearing down on goal, and he topped the move off with a cool finish past Andrew Fahy.
Paddy Murphy put UCD further ahead with a well taken point, and a minute later Jack Guiney towered above Limerick Senior hurler Pat Begley to latch onto a high-ball sent in by goalkeeper Brian Murphy and he buried the ball into the back of the net.
Substitute Domhnall Fox then added insult to injury with a point straight after the goal, and LIT now faced an impossible task to close the eight point gap while playing against the wind.
Sean Collins and Noel McGrath added three points for LIT and two points for UCD respectively, but James Gannon was the name on the lips of the spectators at the end of the game as he dummied his man and struck over the score of the match from 65-yards out two minutes from time.
LIT were encouraged right to the final whistle by their ever-vocal manager Davy Fitzgerald, who covered a massive amount of ground marching up and down the side-line, but it was UCD who ran out as 2-13 to 0-11 winners.
The Belfield outfit now face a short trip to DCU for the next round of fixtures on 7th February, throw-in at 1.30pm.
Scorers – UCD: J Guiney 1-3, N McGrath 0-4 (3f), M Brennan 1-0, P Murphy 0-2, J Gannon, O Gough, G Sinnott, D Fox 0-1 each. LIT: G Guilfoyle 0-6 (4f, 2 ’65s’), S Collins 0-4 (1f), P Hickey 0-1.
UCD – B Murphy; J Dougan, S Norton, R O’Carroll; C Allis, W Phelan, J Gannon; N McGrath, O Gough; G Sinnott, P Murphy, J Guiney; D Fox, M Brennan, C Kenny. Subs: D Mulligan for Kenny (47), R Kelly for Brennan (54), B O’Carroll for Allis (58), M McCaffrey for Gough (58), A O’Dowd for Norton (59).
LIT – A Fahy; A Dempsey, P Begley, C Barrett; P Ahern, J O’Keeffe, P Flaherty; P O’Brien, E O’Sullivan; J Fitzgibbon, S Collins, C Madden; G Guilfoyle, S O’Brien, P Hickey. Subs: J Guilfoyle for Madden (33), P Greene for O’Sullivan (44), P Dalton for S O’Brien (58), R O’Shaughnessy for G Guilfoyle (58).
Ref – A Stapleton (Laois).