Cork IT 1-14, DCU-St Patrick’s 0-6: A good start and composed finish was key for Cork IT yesterday as their 10-point half-time lead provided the basis for an 11-point victory over DCU-St Patrick’s at the latter’s Drumcondra grounds in Round 2 of the Fitzgibbon Cup.
Frank Flannery’s side raced out of the blocks, racking up 1-5 before their opponents even got off the mark, with Michael Kearney of Waterford hitting all but one of those scores.
While their winning margin was comfortable, the conditions were anything but - strong wind and swirling rain was not particularly amenable to hurling and it made for a challenging run-out for both sides.
Despite the elements, CIT were impressive at times with their short-passing in an effort to combat the conditions, while St Pat’s put up a determined fight despite the fact that the early deficit made a comeback appear quite fanciful.
All but two of Kearney’s first-half tally came from dead balls as CIT took advantage of the breeze in their favour, while Pat’s outfit could only reply with three points (all frees) from Billy Ryan, who dropped one effort short and another wide in his valiant attempts to overcome the awful weather.
CIT found the net on 11 minutes after Jerry O’Neill’s sideline ball dropped short in front of the Pat’s goal, with a melee resulting in a penalty converted by Kearney.
Moments later a point from Tipperary’s Andrew Coffey – a lively presence - helped the visitors to a 1-5 to no score lead before Ryan opened Pat’s account from a dead ball.
An O’Neill point – originally signalled wide by the umpire – was the first of a few disputed attempts at the sticks to require the intervention of referee John Keane, whose half-time whistle signalled a welcome reprieve from the elements, with Cork IT up by 1-10 to 0-3.
With the wind at their backs in the second half, Pat’s doggedly continued to battle – holding CIT to just four second-half points – but they could not find a goal to threaten an unlikely comeback.
With a Ryan free blocked down seconds into the second half, ‘Ogie’ Storey – son of the legendary Wexford forward Martin – came close to raising a green flag when seeing his rebound shot stopped by Cork IT keeper Patrick Collins on the resumption.
Pat’s player-manager Patrick Spellacy of Dublin hit a sharp score on 35 minutes to boost his side, while net-minder Killian Dunphy performed his own heroics when saving a second-half Kearney penalty at the other end just four minutes later.
From a distance, it looked as though CIT had found the net for a second time on 41 minutes via a long-range Kearney free, but after consulting with his umpires, Keane signalled a wide – the referee later explaining that the wide ball had been caught in the side-netting.
A pair of Ryan frees was all Pat’s could manage after that, however, as Coffey kept a cool head for CIT, hitting two points in the final quarter to settle Flannery’s side as they maintained their comfortable lead en route to victory.
Scorers for CIT:
M Kearney 1-6 (1-0pen, 0-4f), A Coffey 0-3 (1f), J O’Neill 0-2, J Buckley 0-1, T O’Connor 0-1, C Kingston 0-1.
P Collins (Cork); D Hartnett (Laois), D Fanning (Limerick), E Healy (Cork); K Galvin (Kilkenny), C O’Neill (Cork), D Noonan (Cork); J Buckley (Kerry), J Good (Cork); J O’Neill (Cork), M Kearney (Waterford), A Coffey (Tipperary); C Keane (Cork), M Cahalane (Cork), T O’Connor (Cork).
Conor Kingston (Cork) for C Keane 47, K Duggan (Laois) for T O’Connor 58.
Scorers for St Pat’s:
B Ryan 0-5f, P Spellacy 0-1.
K Dunphy (Kilkenny); R Tubrid (Wexford), D O’Shea (Kilkenny), J Barun (Waterford); C Brady (Dublin), B McDowell (Kilkenny), G Malone (Wexford); R Fitzpatrick (Kilkenny), N Mullins (Kilkenny); P Spellacy (Dublin, manager), B Ryan (Kilkenny), S Morrissey (Kilkenny); J Firman (Wexford), O Storey (Wexford), C Breathnach (Waterford).
F Curran (Waterford) for J Barun 50, G Kelly (Kilkenny) for C Breathnach 56, A Cox (Westmeath) for R Fitzpatrick (Kilkenny) 58.
J Keane (Galway).
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