In the process they have reignited their campaign after last week’s defeat by LIT. This win was a big boost for the Colm Bonnar-coached side and they will have home advantage for next week’s quarter-final against DIT.
By the final whistle Hammersley had 13 points to his name. He drilled over eight from frees and shone in open play as well with five fine points. The timing of the Tipperary man’s scoring bursts was critical in terms of settling the issue. Four points in the closing stage of the first-half enabled WIT to edge 0-9 to 1-5 ahead at the break and when the match was tense near the finish, it was a three-point salvo by Hammersley that put daylight between the teams.
In contrast, UCC did not possess an attacker who hit full speed on the day. Stephen Moylan began brilliantly when weaving through the WIT defence and smashing a fierce drive to the net after 30 seconds. But thereafter corner-back Noel Connors kept a tight rein on Moylan. UCC did ring the changes up front by throwing Bill Beckett, Luke O’Farrell and Darach Honan into the mix, yet O’Farrell was the main threat as he snapped over two points late on.
Overall there was greater urgency to WIT’s play. That was epitomised by some sterling work by defenders Shane Fives and PJ Rowe while Wayne Hutchinson hurled up a storm at right half-back. The effectiveness of their attack was not just restricted to Hammersley either, with Fintan O’Leary a good ball-winning outlet at half-forward and Kieran Grehan a solid operator at the edge of the square.
The first-half was tightly contested with WIT recovering adeptly from Moylan’s early blast to draw level at 1-2 to 0-5 by the close of the opening quarter. Eoin Murphy smacked over a pair of frees for UCC, but Hammersley’s point-scoring contribution put WIT narrowly in the ascendancy at the interval. Their lead could have been expanded by a goal in the 24th minute but Grehan’s shot was expertly blocked by UCC’s Matthew Collins and O’Leary’s rebound smashed into the side-netting.
UCC gained renewed impetus after the interval with Bill Beckett and Robert White claiming neat points. But WIT’s response was swift and impressive as Barry Johnson, Grehan and Hammersley overturned the deficit after 41 minutes. The match degenerated into a scrappy affair with marksmanship below-par on both sides. With nine minutes remaining it was delicately poised at 0-13 to 1-9 in WIT’s favour but, despite UCC’s Luke O’Farrell looking dangerous, it was WIT who dashed for the finishing line with greater purpose.
Scorers for WIT: T Hammersley 0-13 (0-8f), K Grehan 0-2, R Good, B Johnson, R McLoughney 0-1 each.
Scorers for UCC: E Murphy 0-4 (0-3f, 0-1 ‘65), S Moylan 1-0, L O’Farrell 0-2, M Grace, R Foley (0-1f), B Beckett, R White 0-1 each.
WIT: A Power (Waterford); B Kenny (Galway), S Fives (Waterford), N Connors (Waterford); W Hutchinson (Waterford), E Barrett (Clare), PJ Rowe (Kilkenny); B Johnson (Cork), W O’Dwyer (Tipperary); F O’Leary (Cork), K Reade (Tipperary), R Good (Cork); T Hammersley (Tipperary), K Grehan (Kilkenny), R McLoughney (Tipperary).
Sub: R McCarthy (Limerick) for Reade (52).
UCC: M Collins (Cork); C O’Sullivan (Cork), R Foley (Waterford), C O’Driscoll (Cork); J Jordan (Cork), K Hartnett (Cork), E Martin (Wexford); M Wilkinson (Limerick), B O’Sullivan (Limerick); S Burke (Tipperary), M Grace (Kilkenny), R White (Cork); S Moylan (Cork), E Murphy (Cork), G Mulcahy (Limerick).
Subs: B Beckett (Kilkenny) for Grace (ht), J Halbert (Cork) for Wilkinson (ht), L O’Farrell (Cork) for Burke (45), D Honan (Clare) for Mulcahy (50), T Óg Murphy (Cork) for B O’Sullivan (55).
Referee: Diarmuid Kirwan (Cork).