It’s 12 years since NUIG last won the Fitzgibbon Cup but there is a hope in Galway that Jeff Lynskey’s men won’t be far off this season.
They have a good squad and advanced to the quarter-finals with an accomplished display in dreadful conditions on their college grounds in Galway as Mary I fell to a second defeat in the competition.
Incessant rain, a strong breeze and a very wet surface made conditions extremely testing for both sides but they still served up a good contest for the sizeable crowd on a miserable night on the banks of the Corrib.
NUIG held an edge throughout and Clarinbridge’s Evan Niland showed the sort of pinpoint accuracy which he will hope to take into the Allianz League in Henry Shefflin’s first year in charge of Galway.
It helps, of course, in such testing conditions to have the Hurler of the Year in your ranks and the deft touches of Cian Lynch were pivotal throughout as the Galway college got on top.
Galway senior Brian Concannon was also influential as they used the breeze to build up a 0-7 to 0-1 lead after 12 minutes before the Limerick college responded with a handful of frees from Devon Ryan which saw the gap cut to 0-8 to 0-5 eight minutes from the break.
But NUIG finished the half strongly and a good point from impressive corner-back Conor Caulfield and a couple of more frees from Niland saw them lead 0-12 to 0-5 at the interval.
Mary I needed a good start to the second-half and they got it when goalkeeper Eamon Foudy blasted home a penalty and Ryan added another free to cut the gap to 0-12 to 1-6.
Niland and Phillp Wall exchanged points before another one from the Galway sharpshooter pushed them four clear and they never looked back when Concannon soloed in from the left and blasted to the net and another Niland point pushed the gap out to 1-15 1-7 with ten minutes left.
NUIG never looked like getting caught and while Diarmuid Ryan got a late goal they were unable to rescue a lost cause and bowed out with a second defeat.
E Niland (0-10, 0-8f); B Concannon (1-3); C Caulfield, M Gill, I McGlynn, D Kilcommins, C Walsh, C Lynch, M Kennedy (0-1 each).
Devon Ryan (0-6, 6f); Diarmuid Ryan, E Foudy (pen) (1-0 each); P Wall (0-2); C O’Brien (0-1).
L O’Reilly (Castlegar, Galway); E Lawless (Athenry, Galway), J Fitzgerald (Killimordaly, Galway), C Caulfield (Kilconieron, Galway); C Killeen (Loughrea, Galway), D Morrissey (Sarsfields, Galway), M Gill (Castlegar, Galway); I McGlynn (Kilconieron, Galway), D Kilcommins (Annaghdown, Galway); C Walsh (Turloughmore, Galway), C Lynch (Patrickswell, Limerick), B Concannon (Killimordaly, Galway); P Hickey (Eire Og Nenagh, Tipperary), J Fleming (Meelick/Eyrecourt, Galway), E Niland (Clarinbridge, Galway).
M Kennedy (Clarinbridge, Galway) for Hickey (39), Collins (Cappataggle, Galway) for Fleming (56), S Burke (Kilconieron, Galway) for McGlynn (58), O Salmon (Clarinbridge, Galway) for Walsh (58).
E Foudy (Inagh-Kilnamona, Clare); J Ryan (Arravale Rovers, Tipperary), K Ryan (Upperchurch Drombane, Tipperary), PJ Fanning (Mount Sion, Waterford), S Ryan (Clarinbridge, Galway), Diarmuid Ryan (Cratloe, Clare), D Lohan (Wolfe Tones, Clare), A Ryan (Upperchurch Drombane, Tipperary), M Stokes (Kilsheelan Kilcash, Tipperary); J Gillane (Patrickswell, Limerick), Devon Ryan (Cashel King Cormacs, Tipperary), E McBride (JK Brackens, Tipperary), P Wall (Kilbrittain, Cork), A Ormond (JK Brackens, Tipperary), C O’Brien (Liscarroll Churchtown Gaels, Cork).
J Ryan (Clonoulty/Rossmore, Tipperary) for Fanning (10).
F Horgan (Tipperary).