NUIG manager Jeff Lynskey was thrilled as the Galway college sent holders UL crashing out of the Fitzgibbon Cup to create a Group A decider against UCC.
Michael Lynch’s first half goal set up a brilliant win over the reigning champions UL at Dangan in Galway.
Evan Niland scored 0-11 while Galway players Conor Whelan and Sean Loftus were immense as they moved within touching distance of a quarter-final spot.
“It’s been a really hard year trying to get the group together. We only properly got together two weeks ago,” said Lynskey, the new Galway U-20 manager after his successful stint in charge of their minors..
“We had a good week and should have beaten UCD. They really expressed themselves today and got some savage scores.
“But the Mardyke is where you want to go to. It’s where you want to test yourself as a player and as a manager.”
NUIG were 1-12 to 0-8 ahead at half-time after they played with the breeze at their backs in the opening half.
Niland had already scored seven points by half-time but Lynch’s goal was the crucial score. He found the net in the 21st minute after some brilliant work by Liam Forde in the build-up.
UL had to use the wind in the second half but they received a hammer blow with 18 minutes remaining.
Clare defender Conor Cleary was sent off for a second yellow card after he hauled down Forde, who was through on goal.
UL couldn’t find a way back and despite a stunning personal display from Limerick All-Ireland winner Barry Murphy they bowed out.
“We knew when the draw was made it was never going to be easy for us. NUIG took every chance they got today,” said UL manager Gary Kirby.
Scorers for NUIG: E Niland 0-11 (0-9f), M Lynch 1-2, C Whelan 0-2, S Loftus 0-1, D Burke 0-1, C Sheedy 0-1, B Corry 0-1.
Scorers for UL: B Murphy 0-11 (0-10f), M Carey 0-1, J Shelly 0-1, J Morris 0-1, K O’Brien 0-1, J Goulding 0-1, T Morrissey 0-1.
NUIG: S Hennessy (Nenagh Éire Óg, Tipperary); M Lynch (Kilnadeema-Leitrim, Galway), J Fitzpatrick (Killimordaly, Galway), D Connolly (Killimordaly, Galway); C Caulfield (Kilconieron, Galway), P Hoban (Loughrea, Galway), A Geaney (Craughwell, Galway); S Loftus (Turloughmore, Galway), I Fox (Sarsfields, Galway); D Burke (St Thomas’, Galway). C Whelan (Kinvara, Galway), L Forde (Ardrahan, Galway); C Sheedy (Roscrea, Tipperary), E Niland (Clarinbridge, Galway), B Concannon (Killimordaly, Galway).
Subs: S McArdle (Clarinbridge, Galway) for Greaney (46), E Fahy (Michael Cusack’s, Galway) for Forde (48), B Corry (Sixmilebridge, Clare) for Sheedy (50).
UL: B Hogan (Kiladangan, Tipperary); A McGuane (Kilmaley, Clare), E Cody (Dicksboro, Kilkenny), J Henley (Tallow, Waterford); M Carey (Young Irelands, Kilkenny), C Cleary (Kilmaley, Clare), B Cody (St Martin’s, Kilkenny); R Lynch (Na Piarsaigh, Limerick), J Shelly (Mullinahone, Tipperary); I Galvin (Clonlara, Clare), K O’Brien (Patrickswell, Limerick), T Morrissey (Ahane, Limerick); J Morris (Nenagh Éire Óg, Tipperary), M Keoghan (Tullaroan, Kilkenny), B Murphy (Doon, Limerick).
Subs: B Nash (South Liberties, Limerick) for O’Brien (17, blood), O’Brien for Nash (18), Nash for Lynch (half-time), J Goulding (Ballyduff, Kerry) for Morris (39), S Veale (Kilmacud Crokes, Dublin) for Keoghan (47), JP Lucey (Shamrocks, Waterford) for Veale (60).
Referee: Fergal Horgan (Tipperary).