Brilliant Bubbles O’Dwyer inspires Cork IT to Fitzgibbon Cup win

Cork IT 0-19 NUI Galway 0-10: Cork IT are just one more win away from a third Fitzgibbon Cup final in four years after they advanced past NUI Galway at the CIT Sports Stadium yesterday.

Brilliant Bubbles O’Dwyer inspires Cork IT to Fitzgibbon Cup win

The hosts never trailed in this quarter-final and while it may not always have been abundant in quality, they ensured that they did enough to advance to the semi-finals.

As things stand, their opponents will be either Mary Immaculate College of Limerick or Dublin IT.

If IT Carlow’s appeal against their expulsion is upheld, however, then Waterford IT — who beat CIT in last year’s final — will face DIT, with Pat Mulcahy’s side awaiting the victors.

The former Cork captain admitted that the conditions may not have been compatible with flowing hurling but acknowledged that the result was all-important.

“It was a dogfight,” he said.

“We had spoken about it beforehand, they played a sweeper when they beat UCC and we knew they’d play one if not two so we tried to set ourselves up to counteract that but it’s difficult on a blustery day.

“Conditions weren’t great but we were thinking that if we won by two points or whatever it would be enough to get us to the weekend.”

Without the injured Cork pair of Bill Cooper (toe) and Jamie Coughlan (hand), CIT were still far superior in the early exchanges and John ‘Bubbles’ O’Dwyer and Daire Lordan were among the scores as they raced into a 0-5 to 0-1 lead.

Tipperary star O’Dywer would finish with eight points and was a constant threat from his deep berth, both in setting up scores and taking them.

Captain John Cronin was as hard-working as ever at centre-forward while Conor Hammersley put in a highly effective shift at midfield.

In the middle period of the first half, though, CIT allowed themselves to be overrun by their visitors and Bobby Duggan, Niall O’Brien and Ger Hennelly all pointed as they came back to within a single point, 0-6 to 0-5.

Once CIT settled again, they pulled clear to lead by 0-10 to 0-6 at half-time and in the early stages of the second half, they answered any NUIG scores and led by 0-13 to 0-8 with just a quarter of the game left.

An NUIG goal looked more and more of a necessity but the resilient CIT defence, with corner-backs Stephen Murphy and Tomás Lawrence excellent, stood firm.

By the time NUIG did get a clear-cut goal chance, when Brendan O’Connor was fouled for a penalty, CIT had pulled clear to lead by 0-18 to 0-9, with O’Dwyer the undoubted star of the show.

In any case, Murphy on the line made a good block from Duggan’s penalty and though the rising Clare star did point in the immediate aftermath, Cronin had the final score, his third.

Onwards to Limerick IT next week for CIT, though Mulcahy is keen to ensure that the finals weekend visits remain a regular occurrence.

“For us, there’s a bigger picture in how we’re trying to develop players in a general sense,” he said.

“Some of the fellas who haven’t played a huge amount of inter-county hurling have been tremendous for us and were tremendous again today. There’s a big picture there for us in that regard, we’d be hoping to get to the Fitzgibbon final and do well but you want to be getting to the weekend every year.

“We have a couple of injuries which might tidy up and if we can get that right, then who knows?”

Scorers for Cork IT: J O’Dwyer 0-8 (0-4 frees), J Cronin 0-3, C Hammersley, K Kavanagh, D Lordan 0-2 each, N McNamara, P White 0-1 each.

Scorers for NUI Galway: B Duggan 0-5 (0-1 free, 0-1 65), C Mannion 0-2 (0-1 free), N O’Brien, G Hennelly, S Ward 0-1 each.

CORK IT (Cork clubs unless stated): G Minihane (Courcey Rovers); S Murphy (Blackrock), A Dennehy (Charleville), T Lawrence (Brian Dillons); J Herlihy (Newtownshandrum), M Ellis (Millstreet), C Buckley (Na Piarsaigh); C Hammersley (Clounoulty-Rossmore, Tipperary), W Murphy (Meelin); D Lordan (Courcey Rovers), J Cronin (Lisgoold), A Walsh (Kanturk); J O’Dwyer (Killenaule, Tipperary), N McNamara (Kilworth), K Kavanagh (Carrigaline).

Subs: P White (Midleton) for Lordan (37), J Cashman (Lisgoold) for Walsh (57), M Russell (Aghada) for W Murphy (57).

NUI GALWAY (Galway clubs unless stated): J Griffey (Clarecastle, Clare); J Hanbury (Rahoon/Newcastle), R Lane (Ballindeereen), C Diviney (Ardrahan); S Cooney (St Thomas), C Cleary (Kilmaley, Clare), G Fennelly (Ballingarry, Tipperary); S Hynes (Craughwell), G Hennelly (Ardrahan); K Ryan (Ballindeereen), C Mannion (Ahascragh), N O’Brien (Castletown, Westmeath); S Ward (Clarecastle, Clare), B Duggan (Clarecastle, Clare), B O’Connor (Croagh, Limerick).

Subs: C Hardiman (Athenry) for Cooney (21, injured), S Dooley (Borrisokane, Tipperary) for Diviney (58).

Referee: B Gavin (Offaly).

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