CHAMPIONS UL were beaten 0-16 to 0-15 by NUI Galway on Tuesday but still advance to the quarter finals of the Fitzgibbon Cup.
The Brian Lohan managed side will have to travel away in their knockout encounter, as a result of this defeat, which saw Limerick city rivals Mary Immaculate College finish a group winners and UL as runner-up.
This game against Galway’s NUI took place in St Patricks GAA grounds on Tuesday afternoon and it was a tie that the Tribesmen led from start to finish.
NUI had the breeze to their backs in the opening half and led 0-13 to 0-6 at half time, powered by the free-taking of Clare senior panelist Bobby Duggan.
Frees from John McGrath and a point from Ahane’s Tom Morrissey kept UL within touching distance in that opening half, when NUI hit six wides. Indeed the Galway men were to end with 12 wides, compared to just four for UL.
The lead could have been greater but for a fine save from UL goalkeeper Paul Maher in the 14th minute from Duggan.
On the change of ends the Galway side increased the gap to eight points but then came the UL fightback. Led by McGrath frees, the champions had the game back to 0-14 to 0-11 with 15-minutes to play.
Morrissey added his second point and the lead was down to two points with 10-minutes to play.
But a Duggan free broke the UL scoring dominance and that only NUI Galway score of the final quarter was to prove crucial in the result.
Patrickswell’s Kevin O’Brien had the final say in injury time with a fine point. That left just one point between the teams after an hugely entertaining contest, played in testing and bitterly cold conditions.
The results on Tuesday, saw UL, NUI Galway and Mary Immaculate all end on four points with scoring difference deciding that the two Limerick sides advance with Galway going out despite toppling the defending champions.
SCORERS: UL: John McGrath 0-9 (7frees), Tom Morrissey 0-2, David Fitzgerald, Kevin Hehir, Jason Forde (free), Kevin O’Brien 0-1 each. NUIG: Bobby Duggan 0-9 (8frees), Niall O’Brien and Padraic Mannion 0-2 each, Oisin Donnellan, Kevin McHugo and Cathal Mannion 0-1 each.
UL: Paul Maher (Tipperary); Mike Casey (Na Piarsaigh, Limerick), Jack Browne (Clare), Stephen Roche (Galway);Barry Heffernan (Tipperary), Jason Forde (Tipperary), Brian Stapleton (Tipperary); Aidan McGuane (Clare), Kevin Hehir (Clare); David Fitzgerald (Clare), Conor Martin (Kilkenny), Tom Morrissey (Ahane, Limerick); John McGrath (Tipperary), Kevin O’Brien (Patrickswell, Limerick), Tommy Heffernan (Tipperary). Subs: Pat Ryan (Doon, Limerick) for Aidan McGuane (38mins), Cathal McInerney (Clare) for Tommy Heffernan (43mins), Bill Maher (Tipperary) for Kevin Hehir (52mins).
NUI GALWAY: Cathal Tuohy (Galway); Conor Ryan (Tipperary), Barry Fitzpatrick (Clare), Robbie Lane (Galway); Shane Cooney (Galway), John Hanbury (Galway), Padraic Mannion (Galway); Niall O’Brien (Westmeath), Oisin Donnellan (Clare); Bobby Duggan (Clare), Kevin McHugo (Galway), Mike Mullins (Galway); John Fox (Ahane, Limerick), Conor Whelan (Galway), Cathal Mannion (Galway). Sub: Stephen Hynes (Galway) for Robbie Lane (60mins).
REFEREE: Cathal McAllister (Cork).