Fitzgibbon quarter final. ATU v UCC News: results

Posted On 16th Feb 2023
Posted By Hurling
[Galway (All Clubs) campus]
Author Therese O'Callaghan
Location 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.

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