Quaid double fires CIT back into finals weekend

Last year they had nine points to spare in their Fitzgibbon Cup quarter-final triumph over Dublin IT and yesterday Cork IT replicated that commanding performance at the same stage against NUIG in Bishopstown.

An early flurry of goals underpinned their triumph as CIT raised three green flags inside the opening 17 minutes on an afternoon when difficult conditions impinged on the hurling on show.

NUIG produced a spirited revival in the period either side of the half-time break, but when David Drake engineered the space to finish clinically to the net in the 56th minute it settled this game as a contest.

CIT now contest the Fitzgibbon Cup finals weekend for the third time in four years and will travel the short distance to the Mardyke on Friday week, March 2, for a battle with Limerick IT as they chase a first final appearance since 2003.

“We’re just thrilled to make the weekend,” reflected CIT manager and former Cork senior hurler Pat Mulcahy. “It was very blustery out there and quarter-finals are always a tough scenario in the Fitzgibbon as it is one step away from the weekend.

“I thought we’d open up a bit when we got the goals but we didn’t for whatever reason. We came through it and we’ve done fine so far. But we are playing serious teams from now on.”

CIT carried greater attacking firepower which proved crucial.

Limerick senior Tommy Quaid was highly accurate from placed balls, while he grabbed a vital brace of goals inside the opening 10 minutes.

The first was as a result of good combination play with Colin Fennelly while the second saw Quaid display good opportunism when a 65 from Jamie Coughlan fell near the goalmouth.

When Fennelly and Coughlan produced brilliant crossfield passes in the movement that lead to John Cronin firing to the net in the 17th minute, CIT were 3-1 to 0-2 to the good.

NUIG struggled in comparison to make headway up front with Stephen McDonnell, Stephen White and Patrick O’Connor spearheading an outstanding CIT defensive effort.

Galway senior Niall Burke primarily shouldered the burden to put scores on the board and, while his free-taking was awry on occasions, he did chalk up 0-8 over the hour.

With Paul Gordon and Pat Kelly impressing in defence, NUIG did start to gain a foothold in the match before half-time. They struck five of the last six points in the first half, including one sparkling effort by Daithí Burke, and by the interval trailed 3-2 to 0-7.

There were concerns then in the CIT camp as their standard of play had dipped after such a blistering opening to the game.

They opened brightly in the second half, with Quaid and Drake both getting on the scoreboard, but NUI Galway’s aspirations received a massive boost when Caimin Morey lashed a shot past CIT netminder Kevin Roche after fine work by Niall Burke.

Entering the final quarter, NUIG had trimmed the margin to 3-6 to 1-9 but they could never eat further into that deficit.

CIT outscored their opponents by 1-5 to 0-1 in the final quarter as they displayed powerful form in the closing stages. Coughlan was excellent at midfield while O’Connor continued to show well in defence and Quaid, Drake and White all raised flags up front.

When Drake found the net following an excellent delivery by John Cronin, their passage was assured.

Scorers for Cork IT: T Quaid 2-6 (0-5f, 0-1 pen); D Drake 1-2; J Cronin 1-0; J Coughlan (1 65), P O’Sullivan, S White 0-1 each.

Scorers for NUIG: N Burke 0-8 (7f); C Morey 1-0; D Burke, R Shanahan 0-1 each.

CORK IT: K Roche (Cork); B Withers (Cork), S McDonnell (Cork), S Daniels (Waterford); S White (Cork), L McLoughlin (Cork), P O’Connor (Clare); J Coughlan (Cork), M O’Sullivan (Cork); J Cronin (Cork), D Drake (Cork), C Casey (Cork); C Fennelly (Kilkenny), P O’Sullivan (Cork), T Quaid (Limerick).

Subs: P Gould (Cork) for Casey (half-time), N Kelly (Cork) for O’Sullivan (47), J Sheedy (Tipperary) for Quaid (51).

NUIG: D Tuohy (Clare); S McCormack (Tipperary), E Fahy (Galway), C Diviney (Galway); P Gordon (Galway), D Kenny (Offaly), P Kelly (Clare); M Kelly (Galway), J P O’Connell (Galway); C Morey (Clare), N Burke (Galway), D Burke (Galway); D Higgins (Galway), K Downes (Limerick), R Shanahan (Clare).

Subs: S Quinlan (Tipperary) for M Kelly (20), E Hayes (Clare) for Shanahan (36).

Referee: Anthony Stapleton (Laois).

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