DJ Carey said last week he wouldn’t allow the eligibility controversy surrounding James Gannon affect preparations for the trip to Limerick. Easier said than done, one would imagine, with last night’s revelations that Mary Immaculate College are planning to bring their case to the DRA. On that basis, both of tonight’s games could go by the wayside, plummeting the Fitzgibbon Cup into a farcical tailspin.
All the scheduled participants can do is wait and see. With IT Carlow bidding to secure a first ever Fitzgibbon Cup semi-final appearance, Aidan Fogarty, Jack Fagan and Chris Bolger are their key men, though Stephen Maher will miss out due to a broken collar bone.
Davy Fitzgerald’s charges will be keen to ensure their presence at the finals weekend in LIT. It is a much-changed outfit from last year. In the victories over UUJ and DIT, Clare’s David Reidy, Galway’s Paul Killeen and Limerick’s Sean O’Brien established themselves as key figures of the current crop. If IT Carlow can leave their heavy baggage in the dressing room, then there is the potential here for an upset.
* Verdict: IT Carlow
Waterford IT v Dublin IT, Carriganore (J Ryan, Tipperary), 7pm.
Waterford IT will be grateful for home advantage, having initially been pencilled in to travel for their quarter-final clash following IT Carlow’s expulsion. Pauric Mahony has been in scintillating form, shooting 1-14 in Waterford’s league win over Laois at the weekend. Fellow Déise hurlers Austin Gleeson and Jake Dillon comprise a capable supporting cast but it is in defence they may be vulnerable. Mary I punctured several holes in Colm Bonnar’s side’s rearguard when tallying 2-19 in their Group C clash.
Jack Guiney was most impressive in Wexford’s back-to-back league victories, nicking 1-3 last Sunday. He will lead the visitors scoring charge. Derek McNicholas of Westmeath and Tipperary’s Kieran Bergin have also impressed in their run to the quarter-final. Bergin’s duel with Mahony is the intriguing subplot of this tie. A semi-final appearance may prove a step beyond them.
* Verdict: Waterford IT