They always looked like winning this one, yet lacked a killer instinct. Agoal in the final quarter could have seen GMIT stage another late rally as they have done more than once this year.
But now they are through to another Fitzgibbon Cup weekend and the most prolific winners of the competition should have centre-back Kevin Moran — rested yesterday because of De La Salle’s All-Ireland Club semi-final clash with Clarinbridge on Saturday — back for the concluding stages in Waterford the weekend after next.
UCC’s dominance was never in doubt, yet they never quite put away a GMIT side who only managed one point from play. However, the UCC defence, especially their hard working half-back line of Jamie Nagle, Bryan O’Sullivan and Willie Egan, snuffed out the threat of a UCC goal.
UCC only trailed when Mayo’s Kenny Feeney hit the first point of the game and with six players finding the target from frees, in addition to free-takers Kevin Keehan and Egan, UCC were always on the front foot. A brace of long range points from Daniel Roche and one apiece before the break from Shane Bourke and James Cassin saw UCC lead 0-10 to 0-4 at the break, all the home side’s points coming from Feeney frees.
GMIT needed a good start to the second-half, but it was UCC who got it with another point from Bourke and Keehan’s fourth free of the afternoon. GMIT, with Galway’s Ger Mahon at centre-back and Limerick’s Wayne McNamara at midfied doing most to rally them, enjoyed plenty of possession to make a tight finish but they lacked penetration and accuracy.
Eight wides to UCC’s three told its own story and their only point from play over the hour came from Colin Egan after 38 minutes which reduced the deficit to 0-12 to 0-5.
UCC introduced Luke O’Farrell and he hit three second-half points. GMIT responded with a couple of points from frees by Thomas Flannery but were guilty of some poor wides which would have narrowed the margin.
Darach Honan seemed poised to kill the game as a contest after 51 minutes when he rounded his man and bore down on goal but the Clare man’s piledriver was excellently saved by Joe Keane. However, O’Farrell’s third point put further daylight between the sides just when it seemed GMIT might stage a late rally.
Scorers for UCC: K Keehan (0-4, 4fs); L O’Farrell (0-3); D Roche (0-2); S Bourke (0-2); D Brosnan (0-2); W Egan (0-1, 1f); D Honan (0-1); J Cassin (0-1).
GMIT: K Feeney (0-4, 4fs); T Flannery (0-3, 3fs); C Egan (0-1).
D McCarthy (Cork); C O’Sullivan (Cork), P O’Loughlan (Limerick), M Cahill (Tipperary); J Nagle (Cork), B O’Sullivan (Limerick), W Egan (Cork); P O’Mahony (Waterford), D Roche (Cork); S Bourke (Tipperary), K Keehan (Galway), D Brosnan (Cork); D Honan (Clare), J Cassin (Kilkenny), G Mulcahy (Limerick).
Subs: L O’Farrell for Cassin (38m), S O’Farrell (Cork) for Roche (47); D Kearney for Brosnan (52); S Harnedy (Cork) for Keehan (57).
J Keane (Galway); T Martin (Offaly), C Flannery (Offaly), G O’Halloran (Gal); D Maher (Tipperary), G Mahon (Gal), S Hynes (Gal); K Waters (Offaly), W McNamara (Limerick); D Loughnane (Gal), C Egan (Offaly), A Lynch (Clare); K Feeney (Mayo), R Badger (Gal), J Liddy (Clare).
Subs: C Hands (Gal) for Martin (24); T Flannery (Gal) for Badger (37); J O’Gorman (Gal) for Feeney (45); N Mannion (Gal) for Loughnane (52); C Cannon (Gal) for Liddy (57).
Referee: M Haverty (Galway).