Initially scheduled for the main sportsfield at UL, adverse weather conditions saw this Group B tie moved across campus to the all-weather pitch, with the throw-in time put back by three-quarters of an hour.
The fixture represented a first Fitzgibbon Cup outing for UL’s new management team, headed up by Gary Kirby. The former Limerick hurler was able to call on some of last year’s team which fell at the quarter-final hurdle to IT Carlow, including Tony Kelly, captain John McGrath and Jason Forde. The last of this trio was their chief marksman, finishing with 1-10 (five frees).
Backed by the elements in the opening period, Clare’s Ian Galvin and Forde had the hosts quickly off the mark, before Forde netted after four minutes for the first of the game’s seven goals.
Most noticeable was how the synthetic surface contributed to 53 scores being registered in 60 minutes. Much to DIT’s misfortune, however, the scores were flowing in only one direction early on, with Pat Ryan bagging UL’s second goal after expertly cutting inside two DIT defenders when running onto David Fitzgerald’s delivery. Centre-forward Kevin O’Brien tagged on a point and the outcome already looked pretty much set in stone, the home side comfortably ahead by 2-4 to 0-3.
Niall O’Brien, who’d tally 1-9 of DIT’s total, threw over his third free on 18 minutes, but the next six scores were struck by Limerick students, as they quickly pulled out of sight. Ronan Lynch, Ian Galvin, Kevin O’Brien, Tom Morrissey and Pat Ryan found the target during this spell and, with Lynch, Morrissey and Ryan contributing 1-8 from play, the watching Limerick manager John Kiely couldn’t but have been content with the input of his panellists.
Morrissey and Forde swelled their lead approaching the break, with the interval score reading 2-15 to 0-7.
Three more unanswered points upon the change of ends had the winners 17 clear, the widest gap to separate the teams over the hour. Patrick Bonner Maher delivered a quickfire 1-1 for the visitors and, when Niall O’Brien delivered their second green flag on 41 minutes, the difference was back to eight. This was as close as Derek Brennan’s charges would come.
John McGrath struck goal number three for UL, with Maher and Derek McNicholas (penalty) finding the net late on for DIT.
DIT are back in action on Thursday in what is now a must-win home game for them against Waterford IT. WIT entertain UL on February 1 and was Kirby’s side to pick up their second win there, they’d guarantee themselves a home quarter-final.
J Forde (1-10, 0-4 frees); R Lynch, K O’Brien (0-5 each); J McGrath, P Ryan (1-1 each); T Kelly, I Galvin T Morrissey (0-2 each); D Gleeson (0-1).
N O’Brien (1-9, 0-7 frees); P Maher (2-1); D McNicholas (1-1, 1-0 pen); R Greville (0-2); E Dunne, J Cahill, N Mitchell, C Ryan (0-1 each).
D McCarthy (Limerick); A McGuane (Clare), B Troy (Kilkenny), P Maher (Tipperary); G Hegarty (Limerick), C Cleary (Clare), D Fitzgerald (Clare); R Lynch (Limerick), T Kelly (Clare); I Galvin (Clare), K O’Brien (Limerick), T Morrissey (Limerick); J McGrath (Tipperary), J Forde (Tipperary), P Ryan (Limerick).
S Finn (Limerick) for Maher, B Murphy (Limerick) for Ryan (both 46 mins); J Henley (Waterford) for Hegarty (51); D Gleeson (Tipperary) for Galvin (53); J Lennon (Laois) for Lynch (54).
S Brennan (Dublin); P Cass (Kilkenny); C Hendricken (Dublin), W Kavanagh (Wicklow); T Doyle (Westmeath), D McNicholas (Westmeath), L Kelly (Dublin); E Dunne (Dublin), J Cahill (Tipperary); N Mitchell (Westmeath), P Maher (Tipperary), L Blanchfield (Kilkenny); N O’Brien (Westmeath), R Greville (Westmeath), C Ryan (Dublin).
C Taylor (Laois) for Doyle (HT): J McGuirk (Dublin) for Ryan (45); E Darcy (Dublin) for Kelly (49).
J Ryan (Tipperary).