Davy Fitzgerald is relishing a “massive battle” against holders Mary Immaculate College in the Fitzgibbon Cup semi-finals - but the Limerick IT boss has warned a repeat of yesterday’s quarter-final performance against UCD won’t be enough to topple the holders in Galway tomorrow week.
Mary I edged past LIT by two points when the sides met in last year’s semi-final and the scene is set for another keenly-contested Limerick derby.
LIT produced a strong second-half display on home soil to see off UCD by seven points yesterday. They were down 0-9 to 1-9 at half-time but won a second-half in which UCD failed to score from play 1-11 to 0-4. It was good enough to send LIT through to another finals weekend but Fitzgerald, who’s off to a flyer as Wexford supremo, said: “We won’t beat Mary I playing like that. I saw Mary I playing yesterday (against NUIG) and they were phenomenal.
“They’re defending champions so they’ll be busting a gut but it will be a good game, I can tell you that.
“We need to be clinical and to beat Mary I, we’re going to have to be clinical. To keep the college up there, you have to be getting to the weekend and over the last 15 years, we’ve been one of the most consistent colleges as regards getting to the weekend but it would be nice to go a step further if we can.
“We’re looking at a massive battle against Mary I — one we’re looking forward to and I’m sure they’re the same. When you have local rivals playing, you’re going to get that.” Fitzgerald doesn’t have a team of superstars by any means but as a collective, they bring a huge work ethic.”
At half-time, and having played against the breeze, LIT were three points down before upping the ante considerably.
Luke Scanlon touched home Oisin O’Rorke’s ’65 for a poacher’s goal in the sixth minute for UCD and while the sides were level five times in the opening half, four unanswered points before the break handed the visitors something to hang onto.
But LIT signalled their intentions after the break with two quickfire points and a run of five on the spin took them from 0-12 to 1-11 behind to three points clear, 0-17 to 1-11. O’Rorke hit a free to stop the rot for UCD but LIT responded with three-in-a-row to lead 0-20 to 1-12.
O’Rorke landed another free to keep UCD hanging in there but Jason McCarthy’s goal in the final minute, rewarding the industry of David Dempsey, guaranteed LIT’s progress.
P Killeen 0-7 (6f), J McCarthy 1-3, D Byrnes 0-3 (1f), S Bennett (1f) & D Dempsey 0-2 each, B O’Connell, P Duggan & W Connors 0-1 each.
DJ Foran 0-5 (4f), L Scanlon 1-0, O O’Rorke 0-3 (2f), D Dolan 0-2, J Madden, T de Búrca (f) & J Maher 0-1 each.
E Quilligan (Clare); O O’Brien (Clare), K Bennett (Waterford), C Nolan (Clare); W Ryan (Tipperary), B O’Connell (Limerick), D Byrnes (Limerick); D Reidy (Clare), W Connors (Tipperary); S Bennett (Waterford), P Killeen (Galway), J McCarthy (Clare); J Shanahan (Clare), P Duggan (Clare), D Dempsey (Limerick).
C Cooney (Clare) for O’Connell (53).
D Holohan (Kilkenny); E Hayden (Waterford), P Hannon (Galway), J O’Connor (Wexford); H Lawlor (Kilkenny), T de Búrca (Waterford), C Buckley (Kilkenny); C MacGabhann (Dublin), D Dolan (Galway); J Maher (Kilkenny), J Madden (Dublin), P Guinan (Offaly); O O’Rorke (Dublin), L Scanlon (Kilkenny), DJ Foran (Waterford).
R Dwan (Tipperary) for Madden (52), B Quigley (Wexford) for O’Connor (52), C Keane (Galway) for Guinan (52), S Quirke (Tipperary) for Maher (57).
B Gavin (Offaly).