UNIVERSITY OF LIMERICK 4-18 UNIVERSITY COLLEGE CORK 0-8
Tipped at the start of the season as one of the leading fancies for the Fitzgibbon Cup, University of Limerick’s hurlers put it up to the competition when they steamrolled UCC in Thursday’s crushingly one-sided quarter-final on their home patch in Plassey.
Such was their dominance over the hour that they didn’t concede a score from play until nine minutes from the end by which time they were already leading by eighteen points and had reorganised their lineout by bringing on their remaining subs.
Despite Tony Kelly and Paul Maher completely dominating midfield and Ian Galvin, Jason Forde and Barry Murphy ripping the opposing defence to shreds, it’s still hard to gauge how the winners will perform in the closing stages of the competition as they were never under the slightest pressure from throw-in to final whistle.
Overwhelmed, outgunned and outrun in just about every position, UCC just never turned up for the afternoon and failed to find any response other than drawing fouls for Cork inter-county star Shane Kingston to convert. But that’s not to deny the quality of UL’s performance. When they turned it on, and they certainly did for far longer than would be expected in such an untroubled victory, their dazzling mixture of seamless passing movements, power running and instinctive shooting left UCC looking on like gobsmacked kids on their first visit to the circus.
By the time the second goal was conceded after just seventeen minutes, there was only going to be one outcome and the only remaining question was how many scores the winners would chalk up before they eased off the gas. Despite facing into the breeze, UL imposed their authority right from the throw-in and, after their first two efforts went wide, Barry Murphy got them off the mark when batting past the advancing Jack Barry off a run in from the right. Paul Maher then pointed from distance before Kingston opened with a free for UCC but, with their midfield being overrun, Ian Galvin struck twice to stretch the hosts’
Two Kingston frees brought the Cork college back into contact but their only successful tactic was drawing the foul as Tom Morrissey found the target at the other end and Jason Forde magnified their challenge by tapping home goal number two off Galvin’s pass and then followed up with a point.
A Kingston free broke the sequence but Murphy and Galvin hit two in reply and the Cork free-taker’s next successful effort was met by two long Tony Kelly strikes. Rickard Cahalane became UCC’s second scorer off a free inside his own half but Kevin O’Brien had the last word of the first half as his added time point widened UL’s lead to 2-10 to 0-6.
Two UL free missed the posts before Kelly opened the second half for them and was followed by Murphy on the turn. A mesmering Kelly run bamboozled the UCC defence but Murphy was pulled down collecting his lay-off and it was left to Forde to bury the penalty.
Battered from every direction, UCC’s cause was made even more hopeless when Tipperary midfielder Michael Breen walked on picking up his second yellow at the three-quarter mark and the torment continued as a renewed burst of UL energy yielded a Hegarty strike sandwiched between two Murphy frees as well as another two points from Maher and
At that point, the benches emptied and UCC were finally given some space as the lineups regrouped. Cahalane picked off their first from play and was followed by Kingston just before he was substituted. But UL still had the last laugh. Murphy drove a penalty for a foul on JP Lucey into the corner of Barry’s net and Hegarty finished a move up the right with the game’s final score.
SCORERS, UNIVERSITY OF LIMERICK: Barry Murphy 2-4 (1-0 penalty, 0-2 frees), Jason Forde 2-1 (1-0 penalty), Ian Galvin, Tony Kelly 0-3 each; Paul Maher, Tom Morrissey, Gearóid Hegarty 0-2 each, Kevin O’Brien 0-1;
UNIVERSITY COLLEGE CORK: Shane Kingston 0-6 (5 frees), Rickard Cahalane 0-2 (1 free).
UNIVERSITY OF LIMERICK: David McCarthy (Limerick); Aidan McGuane (Clare), Brian Troy (Kilkenny), Seán Finn (Limerick); Gearóid Hegarty (Limerick), Conor Cleary (Clare), David Fitzgerald (Clare); Tony Kelly (Clare), Paul Maher (Tipperary); Ian Galvin (Clare), Kevin O’Brian (Limerick), Tom Morrissey (Limerick); John McGrath (Tipperary), Jason Forde (Tipperary), Barry Murphy (Limerick). SUBS: Barry Heffernan (Tipperary) for Brian Troy (20 minutes), Michael Mullins (Galway) for John McGrath (48 minutes), David Gleeson (Tipperary) for Jason Forde (48 minutes), Stephen Roche (Galway) for Aidan McGuane (50 minutes), JP Lucey (Waterford) for Tony Kelly (51 minutes).
UNIVERSITY COLLEGE CORK: Jack Barry (Cork); Seán O’Donoghue (Cork), David Griffin (Cork), Conor Gleeson (Waterford); Cathal McGrath (Kilkenny), Conor Browne (Kilkenny), Rickard Cahalane (Cork); Michael Breen (Tipperary), David Lowney (Cork); Mark O’Brien (Waterford), Darragh Fitzgibbon (Cork), John Power (Kilkenny); Shane Kingston (Cork), Eoghan Clifford (Cork), Robbie O’Flynn (Cork). SUBS: Eoghan Murphy for Cathal McGrath (20 minutes), Billy McCarthy (Tipperary) for Robbie O’Flynn (half-time), Eoin Gough (Kilkenny) for Darragh Fitzgibbon (38 minutes), Niall Cashman (Cork) for John Power (45 minutes), Eddie Gunning for Shane Kingston (55 minutes).
REFEREE: Alan Kelly (Galway).
MAN OF THE MATCH: Doon’s Barry Murphy wasn’t just the game’s top scorer. His ability to change speed and direction while in possession and his awareness of those around him led to creating as many scores as he finished.