Electric Ireland Fitzgibbon Cup QF: UL finish with a flourish:

Electric Ireland Fitzgibbon Cup Quarter-Final

UL 1-21 UCC 0-16

By Stephen Barry at UL

A storming final half-hour’s hurling rescued UL’s three-in-a-row Fitzgibbon Cup bid as they found an extra gear to burn off UCC’s challenge.

The Cork college led by four after 35 minutes as they threatened an upset but from there, UL outscored them by 1-11 to 0-2 in the second-half hail.

Adam English, Gearóid O’Connor, and Mark Rodgers all hit double-digit tallies in amassing 0-35 for their counties in the League at the weekend. In college colours, they combined for 1-13, with Rodgers’ 59th-minute goal the final nail in UCC’s coffin.

They can now look forward to a semi-final meeting with University of Galway, a repeat of the previous two finals.

Fergal O’Connor delivered a brilliant showing when left in a free-man role for UL, but UCC still had the better of the first half, eventually opening up a two-point gap by half-time.

They were counting the cost of a couple of missed frees early on as fine points from O’Connor and Mark Fitzgerald brought UL level at 0-4 all.

A stunning Brion Saunderson save from a batted Aidan O’Connor shot kept it tied until back-to-back scores from Adam English gave UL the edge.

But the record-winners slotted five points in a row approaching half-time and could’ve added two goals. Shane Barrett’s effort was straight at Conor Hanley Clarke before Barrett was tripped by Colin Coughlan for a penalty. The Blarney man dusted himself down to take it but fired over the bar.

It was 0-11 to 0-9 at midway and UCC extended their lead to four, led by Rob Downey and Barrett.

However, they would only score twice more (in the 39th and 61st minutes). In between, UL blitzed them for 1-9 without reply.

The hosts swarmed with greater intensity in defence, O’Connor put in a trojan effort around midfield and from long-range frees, and Rodgers sealed it with his late 1-1 blast.

Scorers for UL: Gearóid O’Connor 0-8 (6fs), Mark Rodgers 1-1, Adam English 0-4, Mark Fitzgerald, Brian O’Grady 0-2 each, Colm O’Meara, Seán O’Hanlon, Aidan O’Connor, Patrick O’Donovan 0-1 each.

Scorers for UCC: Shane Barrett 0-7 (4fs, 1pen), Rob Downey, William Buckley 0-2 each, Joe Fitzpatrick, Brian Hayes, Darragh Flynn (f), Eoin Downey, Darragh Stakelum 0-1 each.

UL: Conor Hanley Clarke (Limerick); Fergal O’Connor (Limerick), TJ Brennan (Galway), Darragh Lohan (Clare); Killian Sampson (Offaly), Mark Fitzgerald (Waterford), Colin Coughlan (Limerick); Brian O’Grady (Limerick), Brian O’Sullivan (Cork); Adam English (Limerick), Mark Rodgers (Clare), Colm O’Meara (Clare); Seán O’Hanlon (Galway), Gearóid O’Connor (Tipperary), Aidan O’Connor (Limerick).

Subs: Patrick O’Donovan (Limerick) for O’Hanlon (h-t), Diarmuid Hanniffy (Galway) for O’Meara (h-t), Cian Galvin (Clare) for Sampson (36), Ross Hayes (Clare) for O’Sullivan (49), Ian Byrne (Kilkenny) for Hanniffy (60).

UCC: Brion Saunderson (Cork); Ger Millerick (Cork), Shane Kingston (Cork), Mark Carey (Tipperary); Joe Fitzpatrick (Kilkenny), Robert Downey (Cork), Cormac O’Brien (Cork); Darragh Flynn (Cork), Darragh Stakelum (Tipperary); Peter McGarry (Tipperary), Shane Barrett (Cork), Brian Keating (Cork); William Buckley (Cork), Brian Hayes (Cork), Cathal McCarthy (Cork).

Subs: Eoin Downey (Cork) for Fitzpatrick (39), F Coleman (Cork) for Buckley (39), Eddie Stokes (Limerick) for Keating (50), Robbie Cotter (Cork) for Carey (55), James Dwyer (Cork) for Flynn (59).

Referee: Thomas Walsh (Waterford).