CIT have made a swift and comfortable return to top-level colleges football, Conor Kelleher’s side emphatic winners of this one-sided Trench Cup final.
Ahead by seven at the break, CIT pushed further clear upon the restart, the game effectively put to bed when Kerry senior Gavin O’Brien bagged CIT’s second goal eight minutes into the second-half.
A pair of Barry Goldrick frees at the beginning of the second period had brought Mary I back within five, but O’Brien’s green flag stretched CIT's lead out to eight and from there, they never looked back.
Between the 41st and 59th minute, the winners outscored their opponents by 0-8 to 0-2. Damien Gore frequently found the range during this period, the corner-forward finishing with 0-8 to his name. Mark Buckley and sub James Crean were also on the mark as CIT ran out 14-point winners.
CIT captain Kieran Murphy remarked, in his acceptance speech, that CIT were "back where we belong".
CIT led 1-10 to 0-6 at the break, their seven-point interval advantage having its roots in the unanswered 1-3 which the Cork students struck for in the seven minutes before half-time.
Dan Ó Duinnín and the very lively Gavin O’Brien (free) both kicked points at the beginning of this CIT burst, with Eoin Lavers getting forward from centre-back to supply the final’s opening major on 26 minutes. O’Brien brought his personal tally to 0-4 two minutes later, matters then going from bad to worse for Mary I as they lost midfielder Dara MacGearailt to the sin bin on the stroke of half-time.
CIT, the same as they finished the opening half, had begun proceedings in sprightly fashion, surging five clear by the fifth minute. Gavin O’Brien (mark), Gore (0-2, 1 free), Dan Ó Duinnín, and Kevin O’Donovan contributed these five white flags, the writing already looking to be on the wall for Mary I.
To their credit, the Limerick college rallied gamely to get back within a point of their opponents, Cork senior Cathail O’Mahony delivering a masterclass in kicking. The All-Ireland U20 winner was responsible for all bar one of Mary I’s 0-6 first-half total. He found the target from play, the placed-ball, as well as converting a mark.
O’Mahony would continue to lead the Mary I challenge upon the restart, but despite kicking nine points across the hour, it was not enough to prevent a CIT victory.
D Gore (0-8, 0-4 frees); G O'Brien (1-4, 0-1 free, 0-1 mark); E Lavers (1-0); D Ó Duinnín (0-3); M Buckley (0-3); J Crean (0-1 free), K O'Donovan (0-1 each).
C O'Mahony (0-9, 0-6 frees, 0-1 mark; B Goldrick (0-2, 0-2 frees); C Barrett (0-1).
A Casey (Kiskeam, Cork); A McAuliffe (An Gaeltacht, Kerry), S Daly (Dohenys, Cork), C O’Donoghue (Glenflesk); B Hodnett (Carbery Rangers, Cork), E Lavers (Dohenys, Cork), P Ring (Aghabullogue, Cork); K Murphy (Kilcummin, Kerry), K O’Hanlon (Kilshannig, Cork); M Buckley (Dohenys, Cork), K O’Donovan (Nemo Rangers, Cork), G O’Brien (Kerins O’Rahilly’s, Kerry); D Gore (Kilmacabea, Cork), E McGreevy (St Finbarr’s, Cork). D Ó Duinnín (Cill na Martra, Cork).
J Crean (Annauscaul, Kerry) for McGreevy (40); C Kennedy (Clonmel Commercial, Tipperary) for Murphy (46 mins, inj); R Maguire (Castlehaven, Cork) for O Duinnín, M Hodnett (Carbery Rangers, Cork) for O’Donoghue (49); A Spriggs (Delaney’s, Cork) for McAuliffe (58).
D Croke (Holycross, Tipperary); C Beirne (Breaffy, Mayo), C Brennan (Clondegad, Clare), N MacKessy (Finuge, Kerry); L Brosnan (Castleisland, Kerry), S Meehan (Kiskeam, Cork), C Barrett (Belmullet, Mayo); D MacGearailt (Michael Breathnach), J McNeive (Aghamore, Mayo); B Goldrick (Claregalway, Galway), D Coughlan (Kilmurray-Ibrickane, Clare), C Ruane (Ennistymon, Clare), P Darcy (Glenflesk, Kerry), C O’Mahony (Mitchelstown, Cork), R Coleman (St James, Cork).
M McNally (Monaghan).