Declan Hannon and David Reidy hit the net for the Limerick college, but Cregan was annoyed to see what he said was his side’s disrespect for GMIT “both on and off the field” in the second- half. Hannon, Cian Lynch, Colm Galvin, and Ronan Maher were all taken off at the break, while Reidy’s goal 12 minutes from time put a realistic look on the scoreboard after Davy Conroy led the GMIT revival.
Despite an 18-point lead in the bag, Cregan was very annoyed to see his selectors make the four substitutions at half-time, while the effort levels and showboating from his side left him irate afterwards.
“We had a gale force wind and we were up 1-18 to 0-0 at half-time. Then it was decided to take off four players at the one time, which I didn’t agree with.
“We came out in the second half thinking the match was over. We disrespected them by taking off four players and coming out and doing what we did. We eventually got back into the game, but GMIT never gave up, they tried their best.
“That second-half performance was way below par, it should never have happened. If we want to win it we need to be ruthless. I am very annoyed with that second half, some of our fellas that second-half, some of our fellows didn’t even try,” said an angry Cregan.
The lead was 21 points at half-time as Hannon’s 1-7, and strong performances from Galvin and John Meagher continuously had Mary I on the front foot. With the wind at their backs it was hard to recall a single puck-out that Mary Immaculate didn’t gather before the break, but after that their workrate and effort fell to pieces.
Eight wides in the first half indicates Mary Immaculate’s lead could have been far greater, such was their dominance, while a couple of brilliant saves from James Barrett in the GMIT goal denied certain goals to Lynch and Niall O’Meara.
Surprisingly, Mary Immaculate chose to make four changes all together at half-time, and that resulted in a revival from GMIT. Conroy finally got them off the mark in the 31st minute and Conor Gardiner tagged on another moments later.
Once Reidy beat Barrett with a good, low shot 12 minutes from time, the Limerick men were assured of their spot in the finals weekend, which will be held at Cork IT in a fortnight’s time.
D Hannon 1-7 (5f), D Reidy 1-2, S Linnane 0-4, M O’Neill (2f), N O’Meara 0-3; S Cahill, C Galvin 0-2; C Lynch, S Kennedy 0-1.
D Conroy 0-4, D Nevin 0-3 (2f), D Burke, C Gardiner, A Ward 0-1.
M O Conghaile; E Quirke, J Meagher, A Ryan; T Stapleton, A Flynn, M O’Neill; S Cahill, R Maher; C Galvin, C Lynch, N O’Meara; D Reidy, D Hannon, S Linnane.
C Twomey for Galvin (h-t), S Kennedy for R Maher (h-t), J Hannon for Lynch (h-t), C Barry for Hannon (h-t), T Monaghan for O’Meara (34).
J Barrett; D Cronin, I Creaven, J Finnerty; L Cosgrave, P Hoban, S Collins; D Conroy, D Burke; J Mannion, J Mooney, B Touhey; D Mangan, D Nevin, C Gardiner.
A Ward for Mannion (h-t), S Pierce for Cosgrave (40), D Cooney for Mangan (47), Cathal Reilly for Collins (47).
Barry Kelly (Westmeath)