UL, managed by Brian Lohan, scored an impressive 11-points victory over visitors University College Dublin in a pivotal group B opener.
Forde hit 0-7 for the winners, including five frees, on a day when ten players registered scores for UL against last year’s beaten semi-finalists.
The four-time competition winners fell 0-1 to 0-3 behind early on but a devastating run of 1-6 without reply opened up a decisive lead.
Another Tipperary native, Nenagh’s Tommy Heffernan, scored the 15th minute goal for UL, capping neat approach by Forde and Galway’s Johnny Glynn. Indeed Glynn scored a remarkable kicked point in the second half lifting the sliotar with both feet. Weather conditions were blustery and the ground heavy but the rain stayed away. UL took advantage to lead 1-11 to 1-4 at half-time.
Cathal Keane bagged a 23rd minute goal for a disappointing UCD and they had a glimmer of hope six minutes after the restart when Wexford’s Jack Guiney netted from a 20-metre free.
But with Clare’s All-Ireland winners Podge Collins and Conor Ryan in excellent form, UL responded in style to close out the game.
UL are due to play Tipperary tomorrow in the semi-finals of the Waterford Crystal Cup and Lohan may now be tempted to field a second string team. On this evidence, 2011 champions UL will have a big say in this year’s Fitzgibbon Cup. This win has set them up for what should be a safe passage to the last eight from a group also containing last year’s runners-up Mary Immaculate College.
Scorers for UL: J Forde 0-7 (5f), T Heffernan 1-2, P Collins & C Malone 0-3 each, B Stapleton & J Glynn 0-2 each, T Ryan, C Ryan, P Walsh & T O’Brien 0-1 each.
Scorers for UCD: J Guiney 1-6 (1-4f), C Keane 1-1, P Murphy 0-2.
UL: S Hassett (Tipperary); P Flanagan (Clare), J Sheehan (Cork), J Browne (Clare); T Ryan (Limerick), D Morrissey (Limerick), C Ryan (Clare); B Maher (Tipperary), P Walsh (Kilkenny); C Malone (Clare), P Collins (Clare), B Stapleton (Tipperary); J Forde (Tipperary), J Glynn (Galway), T Heffernan (Tipperary).
Subs: S Morey (Clare) for Sheehan (38), T O’Brien (Limerick) for Heffernan (49), M O’Neill (Clare) for Stapleton (50), M Boran (Kilkenny) for Maher (55), D Quinn (Tipperary) for Flanagan (58).
UCD: B Leydon (Kilkenny); B O’Carroll (Dublin), W Phelan (Kilkenny), J Gannon (Kilkenny); B Coughlan (Waterford), M O’Hanlon (Wexford), W Egan (Cork); Conor O’Shea (Galway), C Buckley (Kilkenny); P Murphy (Tipperary), D Fox (Galway), G Sinnott (Wexford); C Keane (Galway), J Guiney (Wexford), W Walsh (Kilkenny). Subs: Conor O’Shea (Kilkenny) for Conor O’Shea (Galway) (ht), D Higgins (Westmeath) for Fox (45), J McDowell (Kilkenny) for O’Carroll (45), S Murphy (Wexford) for Coughlan (49), M Brennan (Kilkenny) for Keane (58).
Referee: F Horgan (Tipperary).