UCC extended their lead at the top of the Fitzgibbon Cup roll of honour to 39 titles after recording a comfortable win over Mary Immaculate College at the Waterford IT GAA grounds today. Tom Kingston’s charges also bridged a six-year gap since last claiming the silverware, while they also achieved a remarkable double following UCC’s victory in the Sigerson Cup on Wednesday.
UCC’s overall greater speed, craft and experience was a vital factor in this 14-point win. A goal by man-of-the-match Mark Kehoe after eight minutes set the tone for what was to follow. The hugely impressive Tipperary star was a key man up front who along with Shane Conway formed an impressive inside forward line.
Jamie Wall’s Mary Immaculate stayed in touch with Aaron Gillane frees, but with the UCC defence – brilliantly led by Eddie Gunning and Niall O’Leary - performing at their best, the Limerick side found scores hard to come by from play. At the end of the opening quarter, UCC led 1-4 to 0-2.
Colm Roche, who also had an excellent outing, fired over three points in quick succession and suddenly the Cork side opened up a seven-point lead. Gillane’s free-taking reduced the margin to four points, but UCC finished the half rifling over four unanswered points to give them a 1-12 to 0-7 advantage at the short whistle.
Gillane and Colin English got Mary I off the mark early in the second-half but two cracking strikes from Kehoe – one from over his shoulder - ensured UCC stayed on top. Ten minutes into the half they really put their stamp on this decider when Conor Browne found the net after being set up by Darragh Fitzgibbon. The joint captain with Eoghan Murphy, put his team in a commanding position, 2-14 to 0-10 ahead.
From there to the finish, the game petered out to its inevitable conclusion. UCC outscoring Mary I seven points to three.
Scorers for UCC: M Kehoe (1-4), S Conway (0-6, 0-5 frees), C Browne (1-1), C Roche (0-3), C O’Leary (0-2 frees), D Griffin, N O’Leary, R O’Flynn, D Fitzgibbon and S Kingston (0-1 each).
Scorers for Mary I: A Gillane (0-8 frees), T Monaghan, L Meade, M O’Loughlin, C O’Brien and C English (0-1 each).
UCC: J Barry (Castlelyons, Cork); K Dwyer (Killenaule, Tipperary), E Gunning (Na Piarsaigh, Cork), N O’Leary (Castlelyons, Cork); C O’Leary (Valley Rovers, Cork), E Murphy (Sarsfields, Cork), P O’Loughlin (Kilmallock, Limerick); C Browne (James Stephens, Kilkenny), M Coleman (Blarney, Cork); C Roche (Shamrocks, Waterford), S Kingston (Douglas, Cork), D Griffin (Carrigaline, Cork); S Conway (Lixnaw, Kerry), M Kehoe (Kilsheelan Kilcash, Tipperary), D Fitzgibbon (Charleville, Cork).
Subs: R O’Flynn (Erin’s Own, Cork) for E Murphy (15 inj), D Lowney (Clonakilty, Cork) for C O’Leary (52), D Lynch (Passage East, Waterford) for K Dwyer (52), R Donohue (Buffers Alley, Wexford) for C Roche (58), D Walsh (Éire Óg Ennis, Clare) for D Fitzgibbon (60).
Mary I: E Cahill (Birr, Offaly); E Ryan (Loughmore Castleiney, Tipperary), D Prendergast (Lismore, Waterford), S Downey (Clonlara, Clare); C Morgan (Kilruane McDonagh, Tipperary), D Browne (Kanturk, Cork), T Grimes (Na Piarsaigh, Limerick); P Hickey (Éire Óg Nenagh, Tipperary), L Meade (Newcestown, Cork); A Gillane (Patrickswell, Limerick), M O’Loughlin (Clonlara, Clare), C O’Brien (Liscarroll, Cork); G Cooney (O’Callaghan’s Mills, Clare), C Guilfoyle (Newmarket-on-Fergus, Clare), T Monaghan (Craughwell, Galway).
Subs: B Buckley (Dromina, Cork) for S Downey (17), C English (Fr Sheehy’s, Tipperary) for M O’Loughlin (half-time), R McCormack (Borris-Ileigh, Tipperary) for P Hickey (bs 45-48), S Bourke (Grenagh, Cork) for G Cooney (47), R McCormack for C O’Brien (50).
Referee: James Owens (Wexford).