THE bragging rights remain unclaimed until another day after UL and LIT played out a hugely entertaining draw (UL 0-16 LIT 1-13) in the first round of the Fitzgibbon Cup on Thursday afternoon.
This first round game in UL was a repeat of last season’s final and on that occasion a Thomas O’Brien goal secured a fourth ever crown for UL.
But on this occasion there was no seperating the teams, who could very well meet again later in the championship. Both have to play Dublin’s St Patrick’s Mater Dei in the remaining games in the group and both will hope to progress to the quarter-finals, with scoring average likely to determine who tops the group.
Backed by the wind it was the Davy Fitzgerald managed LIT that led 0-8 to 0-5 at half time. Limerick duo Eoin Ryan and Paul Browne were among the LIT scorers, with Joe Canning missing an uncharacteristic three frees.
But the Galway star atoned in the 13th minute of the second half with his trademark goal helped the Moylish side into a 1-11 to 0-7 lead.
But his side were only to score twice more as UL staged a sterling fightback.
From start to finish, Ger Cunningham’s UL relied heavily on Clare star Conor McGrath for scores. Indeed the Cratloe man accounted for all but four points of their total.
Indeed scoring was proving difficult for UL with only one point from play in the opening three quarters of the game. With Limerick manager John Allen among the large crowd, local trio Richie McCarthy, Jason Hayes and Paudie O’Brien were to the fore in a LIT defence that wassuperbyly led by Tipperary’s John O’Keeffe at centre back.
At the other end Tipperary star Pauric Maher grew in stature as the game progressed and was instruemental in limiting LIT to just the Canning goal from play in the second half.
SCORERS – UL: Conor McGrath 0-12 (eight frees, one ‘65), Bill Beckett 0-2, Mikey Heffernan and Martin Walsh 0-1 each. LIT: Joe Canning 1-7 (0-5 frees, 0-1 ’65), Sean Collins 0-2, Cathal McInerney, Eoin Ryan, Paul Browne, Cathal O’Connell 0-1 each.
UNIVERSITY OF LIMERICK – Thomas Lowry (Tipperary); Paddy Stapleton (Tipperary), Michael Walsh (Kilkenny), Kevin Fox (Tipperary); Pauric Maher (Tipperary), Brendan Bugler (Clare), Martin Walsh (Kilkenny); Shane Golden (Clare), Joe Gallagher (Tipperary); Bill Beckett (Kilkenny), Cyril Donnellan (Galway), Johnny Coen (Galway); James Regan (Galway), Paul Kelly (Tipperary), Conor McGrath (Clare). Subs: Mikey Heffernan (Tipperary) for James Regan (40mins), Liam Markham (Clare) for Joe Gallagher (42mins), Lester Ryan (Kilkenny) for Shane Golden (46mins), Thomas O’Brien (Patrickswell) for Cyril Donnellan (50mins).
LIMERICK INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY – Andrew Fahy (Clare); Eamonn Glynn (Clare), Richie McCarthy (Blackrock), Brian Glynn (Clare); Paudie O’Brien (Kilmallock), John O’Keeffe (Tipperary), Jason Hayes (Bruff); Paul Browne (Bruff), Stephen Lambert (Galway); Seanie O’Brien (Patrickswell), Sean Collins (Clare), Eoin Ryan (Kilmallock); Cathal McInerney (Clare), Joe Canning (Galway), Cathal O’Connell (Clare). Sub: Colin Madden (Bruff) for Cathal O’Connell (59mins).
REFEREE – Cathal McAllister (Cork).