WIT open title defence in style

WIT 3-13 IT Carlow 0-9: WIT’s first defence of the Fitzgibbon Cup was a winning one as, despite being reduced to 14 men for almost the entire second-half, the holders were never seriously troubled in seeing off IT Carlow in this first round clash in bitterly cold conditions at the IT Carlow grounds last evening.

Dominant in midfield through Jack Langton and Stephen Roche, the Waterford students took early control playing with the wind. Team captain Jake Dillon and Liam McGrath were causing major problems for the home defence while Waterford’s Pauric Mahony punished Carlow with his accuracy for placed balls. The holders had surged into an 0-10 to 0-3 lead by the 27th minute when Waterford’s Austin Gleeson struck for a goal as the visitors led 1-10 to 0-4 at the break. A fracas developed close to the Waterford goal just after the resumption leading to the issuing of a straight red card to WIT defender Tom Fox. But the numerical disadvantage made little or no difference as the visitors continued to demonstrate the greater hurling skills.

Jake Dillon did the major spadework for a well-taken WIT goal in the 51st minute as right half forward Liam McGrath swept the ball to the Carlow net. There was no way back for IT Carlow after that – they were wasteful in attack and never really threatened a goal. Ciarán O’Brien found the Carlow net only a matter of second after joining the action to put a gloss on the WIT victory.

Centre forward Pauric Mahony top-scored for the winners with 0-8.

Scorers for WIT: P Mahony 0-8 (0-5f, 0-2 65s), L McGrath 1-2, A Glesson, C O’Brien 1-0 each, G O’Brien, H Kehoe, J Dillon 0-1 each.

Scorers for IT Carlow: S Maher 0-7 (0-6f, 0-1 65), C Bolger, J Fagan 0-1 each.

WIT: R Walsh; G Teehan, J O’Dwyer, T Fox; T Hammill, M O’Neill, J Maher; J Langton, S Roche; L McGrath, P Mahoney, A Gleeson; G O’Brien, H Kehoe, J Dillon.

Subs: J Hayes for Gleeson (51); C O’Brien for McGrath (57); B Whelan for Roche (59); L McGrath for Dillon (59).

IT CARLOW: C Clancy; C Doyle, M Ryan, D Palmer; W Young, C Doughan, D O’Hanlon; E Prendergast, A Fogarty; M Harney, I Byrne, S Maher; C Dywer, J Fagan, C Bolger.

Subs: B Staunton for O’Hanlon (20); S Norton for Prendergast (h/t); K Kelly for Bolger (44); M Kavanagh for Maher (51); J Doyle for Byrne (57).

Referee: J Owens (Wexford).

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