NUIG are set to host the Fitzgibbon Cup finals weekend at the end of February, and they made a winning start to their campaign in Group B.
On Tuesday, an impressive UL side hammered CIT in Limerick, and NUIG will face both of those sides as they attempt to qualify from the group.
NUIG looked to be in trouble coming up to half-time, but kept the deficit at 0-11 to 0-9, and four goals in the second-half, two from Sam Conlon, as well as efforts from Conor Cleary and Kevin McHugo, ensured the win.
“We were poor in the first-half. We upped that in the second-half and we had our few chances and took them,” said Ward, but we know that performance won’t be good enough against UL or CIT, so it has to be onwards and upwards for us.”
The 2010 champions have won the Fitzgibbon Cup on 10 occasions, but they began poorly against the breeze in Dangan. St Pat’s were dominant in the early stages and William Ryan helped himself to six first-half points as his side held a two-point lead at the interval.
But it should been more, and once Cleary’s long delivery was fumbled by St Pat’s goalkeeper Paul Simms, and into his own net, NUIG were on their way. That came in the 37th minute, and further goals followed from McHugo three minutes later, and two later efforts from Conlon, in the 57th and 63rd minutes.
Criostoir Breathnach struck a consolation goal for the visitors with 15 minutes remaining but they couldn’t find any momentum and NUI Galway sealed the win.
“It was tight up until they scored their first goal and that was the turning point in the game, goals win games,” said St Pat’s player/manager Patrick Spellacy.
S Conlon 2-2, C Cleary 1-3, K McHugo 1-2, G Hennelly 0-2f, G Loughnane 0-2, A Helebert 0-1f, O Donnellan 0-1, C Whelan 0-1.
W Ryan 0-6 (0-4f), C Breathnach 1-1, P Spellacy 0-3, J Firman 0-1, C Brady 0-1.
C Tuohy (Galway); C Cosgrove (Galway), B Fitzpatrick (Clare), C Ryan (Tipperary); M Connelly (Galway), C Cleary (Clare), G Forde (Galway); I Fox (Galway), O Donnellan (Clare); N Mitchell (Westmeath), K McHugo (Galway), G Hennelly (Galway); G Loughnane (Galway), S Conlon (Tipperary), A Helebert (Galway).
C Whelan (Galway) for Mitchell (12), J Fox (Limerick) for Hennelly (46), S Moloney (Galway) for Forde (48).
P Simms (Laois); R Tubridy (Wexford), C Shaw (Westmeath), N Brennan (Kilkenny); G Malone (Wexford), B McDowell (Kilkenny), C Brady (Dublin); N Mullins (Kilkenny), A Cox (Westmeath); P Spellacy (Dublin), W Ryan (Kilkenny), S Morrissey (Kilkenny); J Firman (Wexford), M Og Storey (Wexford), C Breathnach (Waterford).
R Fitpatrick (Kilkenny) for Cox (44).
Brian Gavin (Offaly).