Fitzgibbon Cup quarter-finals preview: Mary I can lead Limerick charge to semi-finals

We look ahead to Mary I’s clash with NUIG and UCC’s game with DCU.

Mary Immaculate College Limerick v NUI Galway, Mary I (F Horgan, Tipperary), 2pm.

NUI Galway will once again be without the Mannion brothers, Cathal and Paraic. Tony Ward’s side came good late on against CIT to snatch a draw and their place in the quarter-finals.

Ger Hennelly landed 10 placed balls during this game, but his free-taking ability alone is unlikely to sustain them against the reigning champions.

Galway’s Conor Whelan bagged two goals for the Tribesmen against Offaly on Sunday and he’ll be expected to lead their forward unit. Mary I can still call on many of the survivors from last year’s all-conquering side and it is hard to see their title defence running into difficulty this afternoon.

Limerick’s Richie English and Tipperary’s Ronan Maher hold down the full and centre-back positions. Clare’s Colm Galvin and Limerick’s Stephen Cahill form a fairly formidable midfield partnership and then there’s Cian Lynch, Luke Meade and Darragh O’Donovan in attack.

With all three Limerick outfits in contention for semi-final places, Mary I won’t want to be the first faller.

Verdict Mary I

UCC v DCU, Mardyke (A Kelly, Galway) 3pm.

DCU are making their first appearance in the knockout stages of the competition since 1997. It was UCC who showed them the exit door on that occasion and the North Dublin University will be hoping to spring a second upset this year after shocking WIT in the group stages, while also running LIT to three points.

Patrick Curran clipped 1-1 for Waterford at Nowlan Park on Sunday and he is the conductor of the DCU attack. In defence, they’ll look to Wexford pair Paudie Foley and Aaron Maddock, the latter lined out for Wexford against Limerick on Sunday.

The home side is awash with inter-county talent. Six of Tom Kingston’s side — Waterford’s Conor Gleeson, Jamie Barron and Tom Devine, Cork’s Alan Cadogan and Colm Spillane and Tipperary’s Seamus Kennedy — were on league duty with their respective counties over the weekend. Throw in Tipperary’s Michael Breen at midfield and the scale of the challenge facing the visitors becomes quickly apparent.

The hosts are bidding to bridge a three-year gap to their last appearance at the finals weekend.

Verdict: UCC

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