The class of Conor Turbitt shone through for Queens University Belfast as the Armagh county forward steered his side to the quarter-finals of the Sigerson Cup with a one-point victory over hosts IT Carlow in a magnificent eliminator last night.
The Clann Éireann clubman hit a total of 0-8, 0-5 from placed balls, in a wonderful exhibition of point-taking for all angles.
Level 11 times over a hugely exciting and sporting contest, this was anyone’s game until the final whistle with Queen's having to defend their line as Carlow went in search of a levelling point.
But the Belfast students held firm for a famous victory in which both sides contributed greatly to an enthralling contest.
It was point for point throughout with some of the point-taking on both sides being exemplary – it was Gaelic football at its very best.
At the first water break the northern visitors led by 0-4 to 0-3 but, as the end-to-end play continued, neither side could claim any great degree of superiority.
Down’s Peter Fagan at centre-back for Queen's made a number of driving runs into the Carlow half and was rewarded with one magnificent point from play. And the pass of the half was provided by Turbuitt as his pin-point pass to midfielder Daniel Guinness enabled the Down man to kick the first of his two points from open play.
By half-time, Pat Critchley’s IT Carlow were 0-9 to 0-8 to the good. But quick points for Queen's from a Turbitt free and fine effort from wing back Patrick Brooks had the Belfast students back in front.
And so it continued, score for score as the excitement mounted. On the cusp of the second water break a Gearóid Murphy point from play left Carlow in arrears by a single point (0-14 to 0-13) and soon after the Wicklow man levelled matters.
But Rory Donnelly quickly restored the Queen's lead and they were to keep their noses in front to the end.
C Turbitt (0-8, 5f); D Guinness, P Finnegan (1f), R Donnelly (0-2 each); P Fagan, P Brooks, K Hughes (0-1 each).
A Steed (0-4); E Lowry (0-3, 3f); K Roche (2f), G Murphy, J Wallace, C Hulton (0-2 each); K McDonell (0-1).
E Mulholland; S Bolger, R Conroy, S McCarthy; M Murnaghan, P Fagan, P Brooks; T Bogue, D Guinness; C Gorman, P Finnegan, R Donnelly; K Hughes, C Turbitt, J Tunney.
C O’Hare for Hughes; P King for Donnelly (59).
K Roche; J Donohue, M Furey, K McDonnell; C Doyle, J Moore, P Hempenstall; T Griffin, P O’Toole; D McDermott, G Murphy, A Steed; J Wallace, J P Hurley, E Lowry.
C Hulton for McDermott (ht); D Costello for Lowry (48); S Murphy for Donohoe (55).
F Smyth (Offaly).