UL finish with a flourish to almost guarantee top spot

University of Limerick 1-24 GMIT 1-11: Brian Lohan’s UL are now in pole position to top Fitzgibbon Cup Group B after an unanswered 1-9 in the last 11 minutes finally saw them pull clear of GMIT in Limerick yesterday.

UL finish with a flourish to almost guarantee top spot

The spirited Galway side, guided by Tadhg Haran and Jason Flynn, looked like causing a major shock when Flynn hit the top corner with 11 minutes remaining. However, UL’s response was clinical and with Tony Kelly and Jason Forde running the show at midfield the scores began to flow. Substitute PJ Scully rattled off a quick-fire 1-1 in the last minute as UL set up an appetising group decider with UCC next week.

Barring a major collapse against their Cork rivals, UL should reach the quarter-finals, but Lohan was reluctant to look any further than that game when goal setting.

“I don’t think we are quite into the quarter final with NUIG beating UCC today. It’s still up in the air. We are close enough, but not quite over the line,” said Lohan.

Playing against a tricky wind in the first half, UL were wasteful at times. Forde missed two early frees before Kelly took over the duties, and either side of points from the Clare star, Tommy Heffernan and Kevin O’Brien also added scores for the home side.

But Haran and Flynn was superb for GMIT in the first half. With Neil Keary operating in an uncharacteristic sweeping role, the GMIT forwards got a plentiful supply of good ball, while a super sideline cut from Haran and a fine individual point from Flynn meant they only trailed by 0-10 to 0-8 at the break.

Another two frees from Haran drew GMIT level by the 35th minute, but two quick replies from Forde put UL in charge again.

When Darragh Burke’s long free dropped kindly to Flynn he finished expertly past Paul Maher 11 minutes from time to put the minimum between the sides, but once the pressure came on UL found another gear and easily swatted aside their visitors.

Only a big NUI Galway win over GMIT and a seven point defeat to UCC will deny UL a spot in the last eight.

Scorers for UL: T Kelly 0-7 (3f), K O’Brien 0-5 (1f), J Forde 0-4 (2f), PJ Scully 1-1, T Heffernan 0-3, J McGrath 0-2, D McInerney & D Quinn 0-1 each.

Scorers for GMIT: T Haran 0-7 (6f, 1’sl), J Flynn 1-3, D Burke 0-1.

UNIVERSITY OF LIMERICK: P Maher (Tipperary); J Brown (Clare), D McInerney (Clare), E Moriarty (Kilkenny); D Quinn (Tipperary), B Troy (Kilkenny), B Stapleton (Tipperary); J Forde (Tipperary), T Kelly (Clare); J McGrath (Tipperary), S O’Gorman (Wexford), T Heffernan (Tipperary); K O’Brien (Limerick), C Martin (Kilkenny), M Carmody (Limerick).

Subs: B Maher (Tipperary) for O’Gorman (49), D Morrissey (Limerick) for Stapleton (52), P J Scully (Laois) for McGrath (58).

GMIT (all Galway unless stated): D Starr; P Fox, I Creaven, K Lane; P Hoban, K Kennedy, D Burke; P Flanagan, D Conroy (Clare); J Flynn, S Collins, C O’Donnell (Clare); N Keary, S Lawless, T Haran.

Subs: D Cooney for Collins (45), M Hannify for Flanagan (52), L Cosgrove for Kennedy (61), D McGreal for Hoban (62).

Referee: B Gavin (Offaly).

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