UCC advance in Electric Ireland Fitzgibbon Cup:
Electric Ireland Fitzgibbon Cup Semi-Final
By GAA Website
UCC 2-17 DCU 0-23
By Tomas McCarthy at WIT Arena
Chris O’Leary’s 82nd minute penalty fired UCC to their first Fitzgibbon Cup final in six years after a dramatic last four encounter with DCU. The Valley Rovers defender struck 1-5 in total as his late blast squirmed under Oisin Foley to snatch victory for Tom Kingston’s men.
DCU top scorer James Bergin had a late, late penalty appeal waved away by Thomas Walsh. The League champions twice led by two points in the second period of extra time, but couldn’t kill off UCC.
O’Leary was a towering figure for the winners throughout, shooting four long distance points (two in extra time). Cork attacker Shane Kingston contributed 1-5 while Kerry forward Shane Conway was industrious during the second half and finished with six points.
The sides were level on nine occasions over a tense encounter. Bergin, who tallied 0-10, forced the additional 20 minutes with a free two minutes into stoppage time.
Kingston shot 1-3 in the first half as the Cork students led 1-8 to 0-10 at the break. DCU used Chris Crummey as a seventh defender and their possession hurling paid off early doors. Sean Morrisey struck two points while Damien Reck and Bergin added singles as they raced 0-4 to 0-1 up after seven minutes.
O’Leary then landed two massive points as UCC reeled them in. Conway was on target twice before Kingston levelled the match at six all. Donal Burke and Bergin moved DCU back in front. On 24 minutes, O’ Leary’s long range free broke kindly for Kingston and he lashed the sliotar to the roof of the net. He tacked on another point before the interval.
DCU earned a two point lead with 13 minutes left but Conway had other ideas. A wonderful solo point in front of the stand followed by a free made it all square. He then set up Kingston for the lead score on 54 minutes. Bergin eventually brought it to extra time.
When play resumed, Conway registered a disputed free for UCC. The sides were tied on three further occasions before Darren Mullen and Bergin regained a two point gap for DCU. O’Leary struck two monster scores, but Crummey drove forward to leave it 0-22 to 1-17 on 76 minutes. In added time, UCC sub Sean Hayes was bundled over by Eoghan O’Donnell and O’Leary did the rest
Scorers for UCC: Shane Kingston, Chris O’Leary (1-0 pen, 1f) 1-5 each, Shane Conway 0-6 (4fs), Mark Coleman 0-1.
Scorers for DCU: James Bergin 0-10 (8fs), Rory O’Connor 0-3, Billy Ryan, Sean Morrissey 0-2 each, Rian McBride, Chris Crummey, Darren Mullen, Damien Reck, Donal Burke 0-1 each.
UCC (Cork club unless stated): Jack Barry (Castlelyons); Niall O’Leary (Castlelyons), Eddie Gunning (Na Piarsaigh), Killian Dwyer (Killenaule, Tipperary); Chris O’Leary (Valley Rovers), Eoghan Murphy (Sarsfields), David Griffin (Carrigaline); Mark Coleman (Blarney), Conor Browne (James Stephens, Kilkenny); Paddy O’Loughlin (Kilmallock, Limerick), Shane Kingston (Douglas), Shane Conway (Lixnaw, Kerry); Michael O’Halloran (Blackrock), Mark Kehoe (Kilsheelan-Kilcash, Tipperary),Colm Roche (Shamrocks, Waterford).
Subs: Evan Sheehan (Na Piarsaigh) for O’Halloran (3), Darragh Fitzgibbon (Charleville) for Kehoe (25), Mark Kehoe for Sheehan (48), Ross Donohue (Buffers Alley, Wexford) for Roche (53), Sean Hayes (Mallow) for Kehoe (61), Darragh Lynch (Passage, Waterford) for Dwyer (63), Dara Walsh (Eire Og, Clare) for Donohue (70).
DCU: Oisin Foley (Crossabeg/Ballymurn, Wexford); Paddy Smyth (Clontarf, Dublin), Eoghan O’Donnell (Whitehall Colmcilles, Dublin), Aaron Maddock (St Martins, Wexford); Paudie Foley (Crossabeg/Ballymurn, Wexford), Conor Delaney (Erins Own, Kilkenny), Chris Crummey (Lucan Sarsfields, Dublin); Damien Reck (Oylegate-Glenbrien, Wexford), Rian McBride (St. Vincents, Dublin); Donal Burke (Na Fianna, Dublin), Rory O’Connor (St Martins, Wexford), Fergal Whitely (Kilmacud Crokes, Dublin); Billy Ryan (Graigue Ballycallan, Kilkenny), James Bergin (Conahy Shamrocks, Kilkenny), Sean Morrissey (Bennettsbridge, Kilkenny).
Subs: John Donnelly (Thomastown, Kilkenny) for Burke (40), Fionntan McGibb (Setanta, Dublin) for Morrissey (40), Killian Doyle (Raharney, Westmeath) for Ryan (55), Darren Mullen (Ballyhale Shamrocks, Kilkenny) for Maddock (59),Brian Ryan (South Liberties, Limerick) for Doyle (60), Billy Ryan for McGibb (60), Conor Burke (St Vincents, Dublin) for Billy Ryan (77), Daire Gray (Whitehall Colmcilles, Dublin) for O’Connor (79).
REFEREE: Thomas Walsh (Waterford).