Mary Immaculate 0-19 Limerick IT 0-14: Mary Immaculate manager Jamie Wall played down the favourite’s tag that has been thrust upon his side, but after Aaron Gillane fired them to a Fitzgibbon Cup derby win over LIT, the manager is confident his side can cope with any pressure that comes their way against IT Carlow.
It was a powerful second-half showing from the defending champions that forced their way past Davy Fitzgerald’s LIT, but with Gillane in super form from frees – he hit 12 points in total – Mary I were always going to be hard beaten.
In today’s final they will face a side ravaged by injuries with a gruelling extra-time in their legs, but Wall thinks there is little to separate the two teams.
“What a win, we are very happy. We are through to a final tomorrow against Carlow. We know them very well,” said Wall.
“You have two very evenly matched colleges that are numbers wise, probably a lot smaller than some of the other colleges in Ireland, but who are in the middle of two very strong hurling areas.
“I personally wouldn’t say there’s any added pressure on us in terms of history in the competition because our history only extends as far as 2013.
“There is an old saying that semi-finals are for winning and it’s a cliché for a reason. It doesn’t really matter how you win them but just that you do. Today it was five in the end, we were very happy. From the very start we went very well.”
With Galway’s Paul Killeen in good for in the tricky conditions in Dangan, LIT were a match for the champions for most of the first-half. Gillane had give Mary I a 0-4 to 0-1 lead with a trio of frees by the fifth minute, but Killeen then push LIT ahead by the 18th minute with a run of three himself.
A great Colm Galvin point was cancelled out by Willie Connors, but despite having his penalty before half-time well saved by Jack Barry, Gillane hit the resultant 65 to give Mary I a 0-8 to 0-7 lead at the break.
Crucially though, Mary I hit three of the next four points through Gillane, Ronan Maher and Michael O’Neill, and by the 40th minute they did exactly the same – this time Gillane bagged two either side of Galvin’s score.
That had Mary I 0-15 to 0-10 ahead, and from there to the end Gillane kept the lead ticking over and LIT ran out of ideas.
Peter Duggan weighed in with two frees late on and Sean Ryan saw his shot diverted over the bar by Ronan Maher, but that was it for LIT as Mary I eased their way into the final.
“A semi-final is a semi-final it’s not the be all and the end all,” said Wall. “The boys performed today on a difficult day to hurl in terms of conditions and a tight pitch.
“It was pure Fitzgibbon hurling and that’s why we love it as much as we do. It’s that kind of hurling that players love to play.
“And our boys have played them in the last five years. These two teams have come up together since they were freshers playing each other.
“It’s a game we are really looking forward to, between two really evenly matched teams so we are really looking forward to going into Pearse Stadium tomorrow.”
Scorers – Mary Immaculate:
A Gillane 0-12 (10f, 1’65), C Galvin 0-3, D O’Donovan 0-1 (1’sl), R Maher 0-1, M O’Neill 0-1, S Cahill 0-1.
P Killeen 0-7 (7f), P Duggan 0-2 (2f), W Connors 0-2, D Dempsey 0-1, J McCarthy 0-1 (1f), S Ryan 0-1.
Mary Immaculate College:
C Barrett (Tipperary); D Sweeney (Tipperary), R English (Limerick), E Quirke (Clare); C Twomey (Cork), R Maher (Tipperary), A Flynn (Tipperary); C Galvin (Clare), S Cahill (Tipperary); D O’Donovan (Limerick), M O’Neill (Clare), A Gillane (Limerick); L Meade (Cork), C Lynch (Limerick), T Gallagher (Tipperary).
T Monaghan (Galway) for Gallagher (39), C Stapleton (Laois) for English (44).
E Quilligan (Clare); O O’Brien (Clare), K Bennett (Waterford), C Nolan (Clare); W Ryan (Tipperary), B O’Connell (Limerick), D Byrnes (Limerick); D Reidy (Clare), W Connors (Tipperary); P Killeen (Galway), P Duggan (Clare), S Bennett (Waterford); J Shanahan (Clare), J McCarthy (Clare), D Dempsey (Limerick).
S Ryan (Tipperary) for Bennett (41), A La Touche Cosgrave for Connors (53), M O’Malley for McCarthy (53), S Burke for O’Neill (54).
Paud O’Dwyer (Carlow).
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