Limerick hurlers chase Fitzgibbon Cup glory

Jerome O’Connell

Reporter:

Jerome O’Connell

Barry O'Connell, Limerick IT, in action against Tommy Heffernan and Brian Stapleton, right,of  the University of Limerick
ADARE’S Willie Griffin chases a hat-trick of Fitzgibbon Cup titles this weekend with UCC and in the process attempts to deny Limerick IT success.

ADARE’S Willie Griffin chases a hat-trick of Fitzgibbon Cup titles this weekend with UCC and in the process attempts to deny Limerick IT success.

UCC are the 4/6 favourites to retain their crown.

Davy Fitzgerald’s LIT are 4/1 to win a third Fitzgibbon Cup and a first since 2007.

They were beaten in the final of 2008 and 2011 but last week defied odds of 6/1 to beat Limerick city rivals UL to advance to this Friday’s semi-final.

LIT have good Limerick representation.

Five are bidding to add Fitzgibbon Cup medals to the 2011 Munster U-21 title - Alan Dempsey (Na Piarsaigh), Pat Begley (Mungret), Aaron Murphy (Hospital-Herbertstown), Barry O’Connell (Kildimo-Pallaskenry) and Seanie O’Brien (Patrickswell).

Also in their panel is Cathal Ryan (Ahane).

O’Brien misses out as he was sent off in the final minutes of last week’s win over UL.

Of the six locals involved with LIT only Aaron Murphy and Alan Dempsey are currently members of the 39-man Limerick senior hurling panel.

Included in Davy Fitzgerald’s LIT management are Cyril Farrell (Galway), Pat Bennett (Waterford), Kieran Murphy (Cork).

To book a final berth, LIT will have to overcome a Colm Bonnar managed WIT.

The Waterford side are powered by Waterford seniors Pauric Mahony and Jake Dillon and Tipperary’s Tomas Hamill and Liam McGrath.

The final will take place on Saturday - all knockout games take place in Belfast with the final live on TG4.

In the other semi-final, UCC play Cork IT.

Adare’s Willie Griffin is one of four Limerick hurlers in the UCC panel that are on course for three successive titles in the Higher Educational senior hurling championship.

Griffin was the only Limerick man in the UCC line-up in their quarter-final win over UCD and as free-taker he hit 0-11.

Such is the strength of the Cork side, they have Clare All-Ireland goal scoring hero Shane O’Donnell and Cork trio Conor Lehane, Alan Cadogan and Seamus Harnedy battling to get into the line-up in attack.

Joining Griffin in the UCC panel are his Adare club-mate PJ Hall, Niall Kennedy of Granagh-Ballingarry and Jack Ahern of Killeedy.