UCD grab a draw against NUIG in entertaining Fitzgibbon Cup encounter

UCD were indebted to a brace of late frees from Ronan Hayes as they recued a share of the spoils with NUIG after their entertaining Fitzgibbon Cup Group A encounter at David Billings Park.

UCD grab a draw against NUIG in entertaining Fitzgibbon Cup encounter

UCD 3-12 NUI GALWAY 1-18

UCD were indebted to a brace of late frees from Ronan Hayes as they recued a share of the spoils with NUIG after their entertaining Fitzgibbon Cup Group A encounter at David Billings Park.

A draw was the most equitable conclusion on an afternoon were neither side could gain prolonged periods of control although the visitors will rue a spurned late free from Evan Niland that veered wide of the upright.

Niland could be excused for that miss given his consistent contribution over the hour with his personal tally of twelve points reflecting his influence on the game.

It was the Clarinbridge player that opened the scoring when converting a 2nd minute free with the hosts responded immediately through an excellent score from Jake Malone.

UCD were awarded a penalty following a foul on Sean Carey in the 4th minute but after making the long journey from the opposite end of the field, goalkeeper Brian Hogan fouled the ball in the act of shooting as HUIG were handed a reprieve.

The visitors took full advantage of that let-off as they raised the first green flag in the 9th minute as Conor Sheedy showed great perseverance to race through and plant a low shot past Hogan.

The hosts replied with a goal of their own from Paul Crummey four minutes later and with Cian MacGabhann impressing at midfield, they took the lead following points by Hayes, Carey and Crummey.

Two Niland points and an excellent score from Ian Fox helped settle the visitors and although Eoghan Callaghan scrambled home a second UCD goal in the 27th minute, late points from Niland and Sheedy ensured a 1-11 to 2-6 interval lead for NUIG.

The contest resumed with the hosts on the front foot following points from Hayes and Callaghan and they looked to have landed a decisive blow in the 40th minute as Carey raced through to crash home beyond the helpless Shane Hennessy.

However, far from building on that score, UCD struggled to make much of an impression from that point, ceding territory and possession to their opponents.

This allowed the visitors to gradually seize the initiative as Niland landed a trio of frees and wing-back Andrew Geaney fired over a superb score to level matters by the 52nd minute.

Almost inevitably, it was Niland that landed the resultant two points, handing his team what looked a sufficient buffer but some late home pressure was rewarded as Hayes converted two facile frees in injury time to ensure stalemate by the final whistle.

Scorers for UCD: R Hayes 0-8 (0-8f), P Crummey, E Callaghan, S Carey 1-1 each, J Malone 0-1.

Scorers for NUI Galway: E Niland 0-12 (0-9f), C Sheedy 1-1, I Fox 0-2, D Burke (f), A Geaney, C Whelan 0-1 each.

UCD: B Hogan (Lorrha-Dorrha); I O’Shea (Athenry), H Lawlor (O’Loughlin Gaels), M Purcell (Thurles Sarsfields); D Ryan (Clonakenny), R Lennon (Bennettsbridge), D Fitzgerald (Inagh-Kilnamona); C MacGabhann (Kilmacud Crokes), G Molloy (Naomh Éanna); J Malone (Cuala), P Guinan (Drumcullen), E Callaghan (Kinnity); S Carey (Young Ireland’s), P Crummey (Lucan Sarsfields), R Hayes (Kilmacud Crokes).

Subs: R Purcell (Thurles Sarsfields) for Molloy (41), C McGuckian (Naomh Éanna) for Callaghan (43), S Quirke (Moyle Rovers) for Carey (53).

NUI Galway: S Hennessy (Nenagh Éire Óg); P Monaghan (Craughwell), J Fitzpatrick (Killimordaly), D Connolly (Killimordaly); C Caulfield (Kilconieron), P Hoban (Loughrea), A Geaney (Craughwell); S Loftus (Turloughmore), I Fox (Sarsfields); D Burke (St Thomas’), C Whelan (Kinvara), S Fletcher (Roscrea); C Sheedy (Roscrea), E Niland (Clarinbridge), B Concannon (Killimordaly).

Subs: S Thomas (Ballygar) for Connolly (5), M Lynch (Kilnadeema) for Fletcher (half-time), C Jennings (Loughrea) for Caulfield (50), S McArdle (Clarinbridge) for Monaghan (55), L Forde (Ardrahan) for Loftus (60).

REF: Paud O’Dwyer (Carlow)

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