Trinity College Dublin shocked a fancied Garda College Templemore in a rousing Fitzgibbon Cup round one tie at Borrisoleigh that ended on a sour note with a player from each side sidelined in separate incidents in injury time.
Garda had also had a player red-carded at the end of the third quarter, a disadvantage that had a big bearing on the outcome as the game came to the tense finish which was out of character with the lively and sporting exchanges which prevailed for most the hour.
Despite losing defender Kieran Histon to injury after only five minutes, the Gardai enjoyed the better of things early on and raced into a 0-6 to 0-1 lead after nine minutes, Ray Barry pointing three frees. They were six ahead approaching half-time with Barry O Connell, and Dylan Sheehan also on target, but a strong finish by Trinity with Fionn O Riain Broin pointing three frees approaching the break, saw the students only three points adrift, 0-10 to 0-7 at the interval.
Inside four minutes of resuming Trinity were level thanks to O Riain Broin’s free-taking. Garda regained the lead with Kevin Slattery’s free but then lost Darragh Stapleton to a red card after 43 minutes.
Trinity took full advantage of the extra man to hit the front but the decisive score came after 48 minutes when a misdirected sideline ball by Garda presented Trinity’s Mark Corry with a gilt-edged goal chance which he slotted home for a 1-13 to 0-12 lead.
This knocked the heart out of the Garda challenge and as the game moved into extra time Trinity had extended their lead to five points when Garda’s Barry O Connell was red-carded for an off-the-ball incident. Tempers were still frayed as Trinity’s Dave Phelan was red-carded a minute later but by then Trinity’s victory was being celebrated by their supporters.
It was a big win for the Dublin college which sets them up nicely for qualification for the knock-out stages. Ace-free-taker Fionn O Riain Broin was their top gun shooting ten points from placed balls. Cian O Sullivan, Donnacha Ryan, Christopher Lynch, Jack O Neill and Johnny Walsh also made big contributions to a famous win.
The defeat is a setback for the gardai who have work to do to stay in the competition. Shane Barrett, Brian Murphy, Barry O Connell, Dylan Sheehan and Kevin Slattery were their top performers.
Trinity scorers – F O Riain Broin (0-10,10fs); M Corry(1-0), C O Sullivan(0-4), J Walsh(0-1);
Garda scorers – K Slattery(0-5,4fs), R Barry(0-4,3fs), B O Connell(0-2), D Stapleton, D Sheehan(0-1 each);
TCD – E Skelly(Dublin); Ml Conroy(Dublin), L Corcoran(Dublin), C Lynch(Laois); E McNamara(Limerick), D Ryan(Dublin), G Dempsey(Wexford); C O Ceallaigh(Dublin), J O Neill(Dublin); D Long(Limerick), C O Sullivan(Dublin), F O Riain Broin(Dublin); J Walsh(Dublin), D Butler(Dublin), A Kavanagh(Wicklow); Subs- D Phelan(Dublin) for McNamara(39mins); Mark Corry(Clare) for Long(44mins);C Keating(Tipp) for Lynch(51mins); D Duggan(Dublin) for O Neill(60mins);
Garda - S Murphy(Wexford); J O Keeffe(Tipp), A Ryan(Tipp), K Histon(Cork); S Barrett(Dublin), B Murphy(Kerry), R Doyle(Kilkenny); D Sheehan(Limerick), J Corry(Clare); D Stapleton(Limerick), B O Connell(Limerick), S Keane(Cork); R Barry(Waterford), K Slattery(Tipp), C Russell(Clare)l; Subs -M Heffernan(Cork) for Histon(5mins), E Sheehan(Cork) for Keane(46 mins), A Harnett(Limerick) for Heffernan (58 mins);
Ref – S Murphy, Limerick.