16th Feb

Fitzgibbon quarter final. ATU v UCC

"UCC held out for a four-point victory in the quarter-final of the Electric Ireland Fitzgibbon Cup at the Mardyke on Thursday night. Sixteen wides - against nine for ATU Galway - threatened to jeopardise the winner’s progression, as a result they were required to apply all of their know-how to secure a semi-final spot against University of Galway next Tuesday.The back-to-back champions from 2019/2020 were 1-8 to 0-9 behind at half-time, but six points on the bounce immediately after the restart - five from prolific free-taker and chief scorer once again Darragh Flynn (0-14) — kick-started the revival.The introduction of Padraig Power (recovering from a hamstring injury) and Cathal McCarthy in the second-half also gave last season’s defeated quarter-finalists a boost.ATU Galway (formerly known as GMIT) will rue this loss. They played with confidence throughout and had plenty of possession, but they needed to put away a few of the goal opportunities that came their way.That said, with six minutes remaining, they trailed by just a single point. But Tom Kingston’s side regained control when the need was greatest to strike the final three points of the contest from Flynn, Shane Barrett and Power.As well, goalkeeper Brion Saunderson saved from Ronan Murphy in the 60th minute, albeit a speculative shot from 30 meters out.The hosts raced into a 0-4 to 0-2 lead after eight minutes. All-Ireland winner with Ballygiblin, Flynn happy to punish any indiscretion.The momentum began to shift the visitor’s way when wing-back Cianan Fahy rifled over the first of his two points from distance. They received a huge fillip when Ronan Murphy netted in the 13th minute, the green flag coming after a long free from ‘keeper Darrach Fahy landed in the danger area.A great run by Kevin Cooney prior to this caused havoc in the UCC defence but the number 10 just couldn’t apply the finish.At the quarter hour mark, Evan Hunt put the westerners 1-4 to 0-5 up.There was an exchange of points between Fahy and Robbie Cotter, however, ATU Galway could have goaled again, this time Cian Folan denied.Critically, ATU Galway had the stronger finish to the half with Cooney supplying three excellent scores to leave his side two in front.UCC, who topped Group C, responded straight from the restart.Power, only a minute on the field, showed his side were equal to the test. His white flag was followed by five points from Flynn - four from placed balls and from all different angles.While their resolve was being severely tested, the Cork college powered into the lead for the first time since the 10th minute.ATU Galway, meanwhile, registered their first score of the new half through Cooney in the 44th minute. It was a real gem, and when Murphy followed, the gap was reduced to two, 0-15 to 1-10 at the three-quarter mark.Twice Cooney pointed frees but they were negated by Flynn (free) and one from play by Brian Hayes. A one-point game when Murphy found the target following a pass from Evan Duggan (0-17 to 1-13), and six minutes remaining.So near and yet so far for ATU Galway as UCC took advantage of their wastefulness at this particular juncture, to see it out.When Daniel Hogan was fouled, Flynn pointed. The combination of Eoin Carey and Hayes set up Barrett for a point. And in stoppage, Power put them four clear.As UCC head into the penultimate round against another Connacht side (University of Galway), they are currently shorn of some key personnel with their injury list including county players Robert Downey (UCC vice-captain), Jack O’Connor, Ethan Twomey, Daire Connery and Iarlaith Daly."

16th Feb

Fitzgibbon round 2. ATU v TUS Midwest

"In a winner-take-all clash in Moylish, home grounds for TUS Midwest, those in attendance could be forgiven for assuming the home side would progress after a strong first half. Jimmy Browne’s side led 0-15 to 0-7 and had showed real quality in building that lead. The considerable breeze at their back was a factor but overall, they’d looked the more well-rounded side, capable of maintaining their winning position.But ATU Galway rolled the dice at half-time, introduced three substitutes, and within just four minutes, they’d pegged back their hosts. One of those subs, Niall Coen, made a telling contribution, scoring the first goal as well as landing two neat points in a dominant second half. ATU named 14 Galway natives from the start with Westmeath man, Peadar Scally the other option.Such was the role reversal in the second period, Aaron Shanagher’s 55th minute goal was quickly wiped away. That green flag was part of just 1-3 scored by TUS in an underwhelming second-half. TUS shot well, landing those 15 points as well as having five wides.Their half-time lead was built on impressive work from Clare pair – Robin Mounsey and Shanagher, with Mounsey clipping four from play, Shanagher adding two more. They were using the wind to good effect but Darragh Fahy had made a couple of saves including one in stoppage time which denied TUS perhaps a game changing goal.Kevin Cooney’s four frees as well as points from Cian Folan, Donal Parr and Dan Nevin keeping the Galway side some bit in the contest. They too had goal chances with Clare’s Cian Broderick alert to preserve the lead.But those subs changed the game for ATU. Jack Forde got them rolling with a marauding run and point on 31 before Coen rattled the net. From the next play, the tie was level, as Moycullen’s Folan blasted home after cutting in from the right corner.The reply from TUS was an Evan Fitzpatrick point – his third – but they couldn’t find Mounsey or Shanagher with the same supply of ball in a tough period. Kyle Shelly would inch them back in front but then came a run of points – six – where ATU effectively won this game. Coen and Cooney (frees) accounted for a brace, another sub, Aaron Shaughnessy also on target.Even when Shanagher landed a trademark goal nearing the finish, after bursting through the defence, ATU still held a led, 2-18 to 1-18. TUS were desperate but the Galway college looked assured and measured. They would hit the final four points to swat aside any worries of a TUS revival. Among the scorers was the talented Jack Grealish, another introduced from the subs bench."

20th Jan

Fitzgibbon round 1

"A game of two halves at Duggan Park in Ballinasloe saw reigning Fitzgibbon Cup champions UL survive a stern test of their credentials against ATU Galway, in a contest that was laden with far more quality than anyone was entitled to expect on a pitch where the stand side was still partially covered with ice.Despite the comprehensive winning margin, the Galway side were every bit as good as their star-packed opposition for the opening 30 minutes, and they would have reduced the gap considerably had they taken a lot more of their pointscoring chances in the second half, instead of chasing goals in a bid to get back into the game quickly.There was no masking UL’s quality after the break however, as they overpowered the home side, with Gearóid O’Connor knocking over scores from all angles, while the strength in depth of the team was illustrated by their ability to spring players of the caliber of Cian Galvin and Colin Coughlan off the bench.Inspired by a wonderful early goal from Ronan Murphy, set up by a delightful flick from Cian Folan, ATU Galway led for most of a first half that was absolutely fantastic to watch.Kevin Cooney carried the ATU Galway attack and he was central to the second goal, knocked to the net by Folan, while at the other end there were some wonderful points from O’Connor, Killian Sampson, and even goalkeeper Rhys Shelly.Michael Kiely’s goal from close range helped UL get their noses in front but the real swing moment was just before half time, when Cooney had the ball in the net but saw the score disallowed for square ball, while from the next attack, Mark Rogers rifled the ball to the bottom corner to make it 2-11 to 2-6 at the interval.Having survived that surge, UL had more than enough firepower in the tank to drive on and win well from there."

19th Jan

Sigerson rd 2

"UCC remain alive in the Sigerson Cup after an awesome final quarter saw them pull clear of ATU Galway at Tuam Stadium.At the turnaround their lead was just one. Then the Kingdom came to the fore as An Gaeltacht’s Cathal Begley kicked two well-taken scores while Dingle’s Dylan Geaney kept the frees ticking over. Some poor finishing at the other end proved costly for a spirited ATU Galway challenge.A cagey first half in icy conditions saw Billy Morgan’s outfit deploy Shane Merritt in front of the full-back line with Geaney and Mark Cronin at the other end close to goal. ATU Galway went in a with cause for optimism at the break trailing by just one and having missed their first two scoreable frees and dropped another one short.After converting a pair of placed balls in the first half, Geaney curled a left-footed beauty early in the second to double their lead. A high turnover soon after hinted at a goal chance but Begley was content to push the margin to three. Nathan Grainger and Geaney exchanged frees to leave ATU Galway chasing a goal with the clock ticking down.Three days after helping Ballygiblin to All-Ireland glory, the lively Cathail O’Mahony came off the bench and ruled out any hope of a comeback. His darting run along the endline eventually forced a full length save from Jack Livingstone and Sean O’Connor had the simplest of tasks to tap home.From there the contest faded to its inevitable conclusion. Some good work done, more to do for UCC."

12th Jan

Sigerson round 1

"TU Dublin produced a strong second half display at a rain-soaked Grangegorman last night to secure a Sigerson Cup opening round victory over ATU Galway.Level at 0-6 apiece during the interval, a third-quarter goal courtesy of substitute Kevin Callaghan ultimately swung the tie in the Metropolitan outfit’s favour. While the conditions made it extremely difficult to play a free-flowing brand of football, TU Dublin will nonetheless take great confidence from the way they worked themselves into the action and ultimately came away with the win that they craved.Fresh from featuring for Dublin in their O’Byrne Cup success over Wicklow in Baltinglass seven days earlier, midfielder Killian McGinnis got on the end of a sweeping move to kick TU Dublin into an early lead in the second-minute.Yet ATU Galway proceeded to storm into the contest with unanswered efforts by Dylan Farrell, Conor Reed and corner-forward Nathan Grainger. Farrell was joined in the ATU full-forward line by fellow Longford man Conor Keenan, while another player from the midlands county - Jordan Shields - lined out at left half-back.There was no reason for TU Dublin to panic just yet, particularly with McGinnis’ centre-field partner Ryan Deegan and Ryan O’Dwyer on hand to cancel out the ATU lead with successive points. The visiting Tribesmen were getting plenty of joy in attack, however, and reasserted their authority through the boots of Farrell and Dylan Ruane.Yet parity was restored when O’Dwyer and Mark Lavin both found the range for the hosts in quick succession. Darragh Campion’s superb point with the outside of his right boot squeezed TU Dublin into the lead for the very first time on the half-hour, but a second score from Ruane meant the two teams were inseparable at the break.This left the tie delicately poised and with the scoreboard remaining unaltered for the opening eight minutes of the second period, it was almost impossible to guess which way this game was going to go.However, Lavin free helped the hosts to settle and St Brigid’s club man Callaghan subsequently flicked a diagonal ball to the net on the stroke of 40 minutes to suddenly create some daylight between the teams. This was the cue for the Dublin college to flex their muscles with the impressive Lavin coming into his own.Farrell did his best to keep ATU in the frame and Galway senior panellist James Foley also broke up the field from corner-back to kick an excellent point for the Connacht side. Nevertheless, the capital men continued to pick off some fine scores to keep their opponents at bay and ultimately emerged as deserving winners in the end."

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