Fitzperfect Fitzgibbon finale

Limerick IT 2-13 University of Limerick 3-4

As hosts it was a special day on Saturday, but beating their city rivals made it especially sweet: "This victory ranks up there with anything I've won as a player," said a jubilant Fitzgerald. "I lost a very dear friend, Trixie Twomey, this time last year and this win was for him.

"They gave us a couple of scary moments along the way, but today there was only going to one winner.

"We had a game plan to counteract their running game, and it worked a treat. For LIT, who hadn't won anything and were given no chance of winning this competition, it's a tremendous achievement to be up there with the very best of the third- level colleges," said the Clare keeper.

Captain and Tipperary ace Eoin Kelly will have many happy memories of this victory. A hamstring injury threatened to rule him out of the competition, but nothing was going to stop him from togging out and his scoring exploits in both the semi-final and final were decisive.

"All the hard grind during the winters months paid off, and we've Davy Fitz to thank for that," said Kelly. "I feel UL overdid the running game and that suited us, because we chased and harried them at every opportunity. We never allowed them to dictate like they did in the semi-final and I always felt we were going to win, once we didn't lose our discipline.

"It's a fantastic achievement for such a young college and it will bring hurling on in a big way. We've had a fantastic group of players and it's a victory I will cherish long after I've left the college."

For Cork's All-Ireland winning corner forward, Kieran Murphy, it was a particularly satisfying victory. He had played with Cork IT in the 2003 final and failed against Waterford IT. "Our plan was to stay with the runners and it worked a treat. This win ranks with winning the All-Ireland with Cork last year, and it's a medal I will cherish."

While it was essentially a team effort, John Coen, Fergus Flynn, Iarla Tannian, Niall Healy and Eoin Kelly made major contributions, while on a day when UL were way below par, John Devane, Robert Conlon and Niall Moran were their best players.

Eoin Kelly stamped his authority on the game very early scoring 1-2 in the opening five minutes. Indiscipline in the UL defence gave Kelly the opportunity to show his free-taking skills and he punished them at every opportunity, affording LIT a 1-9 to 2-1 advantage at half-time.

LIT struck for their second goal 15 minutes into the second half when Iarla Tannian's line ball found Aonghus Callanan and he blasted home from 13 metres.

Niall Moran kept his side in touch with three points, but the goal his side craved came far too late (63rd minute) to make any difference.

Scorers: Limerick IT: E. Kelly 1-8 (1-6 frees); A. Callanan 1-0; K. Murphy 0-2; I. Tannian, B. Nugent, F. Flynn (free) 0-01 each. UL: N. Moran 1-3 (frees); P. O'Flynn 1-1; J. Heneghan 1-0.

LIMERICK IT: A. Ryan; E. Collins, J. Coen, C. O'Mahony; S. McGrath, F. Flynn, D. Morrissey; J. Tyrell, J. Reddan; A. Callanan, B. Nugent, I. Tannian; N. Healy, E. Kelly, K. Murphy. Sub: D. O'Reilly for Murphy.

UNIVERSITY OF LIMERICK: T. Flynn; B. Bugler, J. Devane, A. Murphy; R. Conlon, R. Hayes, G. Flood; N. Moran, B. Coleman; P. O'Flynn, J. Gantley, D. McCormack; B. Carroll, D. Greene, N. Kenny. Subs: T. Healy for Coleman; P. Dowling for Gantley; J. Heneghan for McCormack.

Referee: A. MacSuibhne (Dublin).

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