Reigning Fitzgibbon Cup champions UL have a job on their hands to emerge from the group of death after losing their opening fixture to UCC this afternoon.
Today’s game was UL’s sole home fixture in Group A and Gary Kirby’s charges will have to take maximum points away to UCD and NUIG in the coming fortnight if they are to progress to the knockout stages.
For UCC, there was an element of redemption to this six-point win, with the Cork University having been thumped by UL at this very venue in last year’s Fitzgibbon Cup quarter-final.
The sides were level on nine occasions throughout, with the visitors to Limerick enjoying a 0-11 to 0-9 interval lead. UL had a goal disallowed midway through the first-half as referee Fergal Horgan adjudged Barry Murphy to have struck his penalty effort from inside the 20-metre line.
Murphy (0-2), Jake Morris and Shane Golden reeled off four unanswered points early in the second period to nudge UL into a 0-13 to 0-12 lead, the first and only time they led this contest.
UCC responded by clipping four of the game’s next five scores, David Griffin, Shane Conway (0-2) and Shane Kingston the providers. The sides would be level twice more before a crucial three-point burst from UCC between the 48th and 50th minute established a small bit of daylight between the teams.
UCC finished the stronger with Shane Conway of Lixnaw bringing his personal tally to 0-9, five of which arrived from open play.
Scorers for UCC: S Conway (0-9, 0-4 frees); C O’Leary (0-6, 0-3 frees, 0-3 ‘65s); S Kingston, R O’Flynn (0-3 each); M O’Halloran (0-2); M Coleman (0-1 sc), C Brown, D Griffin (0-1 each).
Scorers for UL: B Murphy (0-4 frees), M Keoghan (0-4 each); J Morris (0-3); R Lynch (0-1 free, 0-1 ‘65), K O’Brien, S Golden (0-2 each); I Galvin, T Morrissey, J Henley (0-1 each).
University College Cork: J Barry (Castlelyons); N O’Leary (Castlelyons), E Gunning (Na Piarsaigh), D Lynch (Passage East); C O’Leary (Valley Rovers), E Murphy (Sarsfields), D Griffin (Carrigaline); C Browne (James Stephens), M Coleman (Blarney); R Donohue (Buffers Alley), S Kingston (Douglas), M O’Halloran (Blackrock); M Keogh (Kilsheelan-Kilcash), S Conway (Lixnaw), P O’Loughlin (Kilmallock).
Subs: R O’Flynn (Erin’s Own) for Donohue (38 mins); K Dwyer (Killenaule) for Lynch (53); C Roche (Shamrocks) for O’Halloran, D Walsh (Éire Óg, Clare) for Griffin (both 62).
University of Limerick: J Power (Monaleen); A McGuane (Kilmaley), E Cody (Dicksboro), P Maher (Kilsheelan-Kilcash); J Henley (Tallow), C Cleary (Kilmaley), R Lynch (Na Piarsaigh); S Golden (Sixmilebridge), J Shelly (Mullinahone); I Galvin (Clonlara), K O’Brien (Patrickswell), T Morrissey (Ahane); J Morris (Nenagh Éire Óg), M Keoghan (Tullaroan), B Murphy (Doon).
Subs: T Hannon (St Joseph’s Doora Barefield) for Shelly (47 mins); S Veale (Kilmacud Crokes) for O’Brien, B Coady (St Martin’s) for Henley (both 49); C Darcy (Kilruane MacDonaghs) for Murphy (54); M Carey (Gowran) for Maher (58).
Referee: F Horgan (Tipperary).