CIT bid for history after finally seeing off UCC

CIT 3-6

In doing so they qualified for the first time for the final of the premier competition in third-level hurling.

Given the time of year, conditions were better than decent at the Mardyke, with a diagonal breeze that wasn’t too much of a disadvantage.

For UCC, full-back Pádraig Gilmartin, wing-back and team captain Luke Mannix, midfielder Tom Kenny, wing-forward Brian Phelan and hard-working Shane Brick were the men of note, while the Bishopstown college had outstanding displays from keeper Martin Coleman, full-backs Brian Murphy and Jackie Tyrell, a half-back line superbly marshalled by Cork senior star Ronan Curran, a midfield of John Gardiner and Stephen O’Sullivan that dominated throughout. Aidan Fogarty and Garvan McCarthy were the greatest threat in the forward sextet.

But the two outstanding individuals on view were both corner-backs.

Tom Walsh of Kilkenny for UCC, Michael Prout from Shamrocks in Cork and CIT, were simply brilliant.

Having snuffed out completely CIT dangerman Kieran Murphy, Walsh was moved forward towards the end of the game in a desperate attempt to get the goal so vitally needed.

As for Prout, one first-half sequence summed up his contribution to the CIT win as he batted out a high ball before supporting the under-pressure John Gardiner. Having collected a ball from the latter he speared a perfect delivery into the chest of full-forward Diarmuid O’Riordan, who turned and whipped over the point.

That little cameo epitomised the difference between the sides. While individual performances did separate certain players, this was all about teamwork.

Talented and all as this UCC side is, they hardly had space to breathe, never mind build scores as the 26 minutes without a score will attest too.

“The goals were crucial,” a delighted CIT captain Ronan Curran reckoned, and he was right.

The first, in the 18th minute, was a ground shot from all of 40 metres by the impressive Gardiner that UCC keeper Richard O’Neill failed to control. It was a perfect strike through a forest of legs and O’Neill was unsighted until the last second. That helped CIT to a 1-4 to 0-3 half-time lead.

Their second came early in the second half when Kilkenny man Fogarty blocked down an attempted O’Neill goal-line clearance into the net.

Then came CIT’s killer blow which put them 3-5 to 0-5 clear ten minutes into the second half. It came after a wonderful save and clearance by Martin Coleman followed by passes from O’Sullivan to O’Leary to McCarthy who left O’Neill with no chance.

It was soul-destroying, though UCC battled gamely to the finish.

Scorers for CIT: J. Gardiner 1-2 (0-2 65’s); A. Fogarty 1-1; G. McCarthy 1-0; D. O’Riordan, S. O’Sullivan, V. Hurley, 0-1 each.

UCC: B. Phelan 0-3; M. O’Connor 0-3 (0-2 frees, 0-1 65); L. Mannix, S. Brick 0-1 each.

CIT: M. Coleman; B. Murphy, J. Tyrell, M. Prout; V. Hurley, R. Curran, P. Sloane; S. O’Sullivan, J. Gardiner; G. McCarthy, C. O’Leary, J. O’Connor; A. Fogarty, D. O’Riordan, K. Murphy. Sub: M. Kelly (O’Leary 55).

UCC: R. O’Neill; T. Walsh, P. Gilmartin, R. McGregor; L. Mannix, J. Olden, M. Clifford; M. Rice, T. Kenny; B. Phelan, C. Morrissey, R. O’Doherty; M. Walsh, S. Brick, M. O’Connor. Subs: B. Carey (Walsh 26); D. Cashman (O’Connor 43); J. McDonnell (O’Doherty 52).

Referee: P. Moore (Waterford).

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