UCC 1-18; Waterford IT 2-14
Waterford IT surrendered their Fitzgibbon Cup title in a dramatic semi-final against ultimate champions UCC in Ringsend, Dublin last Friday.
Bill Beckett scored a winning goal in the fifth minute of time added-on at Clanna Gael Fontenoy to crush Colm Bonnar’s side, who had gone six points clear in the third quarter after a brace of Timmy Hammersly goals.
UCC, with Abbeyside and Waterford wing-back Richie Foley a key player, dug deep and got their reward. However, WIT, with Hammersly on fire, were in command for most of the match, though Ray McLoughney, last season’s top scorer, was well policed by the excellent Shane O’Neill.
The teams were level at five-apiece by the 18th minute before the holders scored four successive points per Hammersly, Stephen Lillis (free), TJ Reid and McLoughney (free) to put them in the driving seat.
Still a mere 0-10 to 0-7 half-time lead proved too little as it turned out, and within 10 minutes of the turnaround, UCC’s John Mulhall drew them level with some superb solo scores.
But when Hammersly raised a green flag on 42 minutes with a lovely flick past Anthony Nash WIT breathed a sigh of relief, and they looked even more relaxed when the Tipp full-forward latched onto another clearance and blasted home just seconds later.
Despite that double whammy Paul O’Connor’s men staged a remarkable rally, with Foley turning on the style, firing over two of four successive UCC points to reduce WIT’s lead to just a goal.
Following a six-minute spell without a score, the Cork University rose to the challenge and sent two more efforts over the bar to leave the bare minimum between the teams.
Though McLoughney converted a straightforward free, UCC launched a last-gasp attack which saw the sliotar scrambled over the WIT goal-line past Ballyduff Upper’s Adrian Power for a sensational winner.
In Saturday’s Parnell Park decider UCC beat University of Limerick by 2-17 to 0-14 to secure their 40th Fitzgibbon Cup crown, but a first in 11 years. Kilkenny forward John Mulhall and Tadhg Óg Murphy of Cork got the goals, with Richie Foley impressive once again in the half-back line.
Foley’s clubmate John Gorman was also part of the UCC squad, while the University of Limerick side beaten in the final included An Rinn clubman Noel O Morchú.
Meanwhile, the Mary Immaculate College, Limerick side that beat University of Jordanstown in the final of the Ryan Cup featured Dungarvan and Waterford senior hurler Jamie Nagle, and the Napier University of Edinburgh team that lost to St Marys College from Belfast in the final of the Maher Cup numbered Waterford senior footballer and former hurling panel member, Liam Lawlor and David O’Gorman, both of the Nire/Fourmilewater.
[Additional reporting by Thomas Keane]
UCC: A Nash; S O’Neill, D McSweeney, C O’Sullivan; J Jordan, K Hartnett, R Foley; M Wilkinson, M Cahill; S Burke, B Beckett, D Hanley; T Og Murphy, J Mulhall, S Moylan. Subs: B O’Sullivan for Wilkinson (45), E Murphy for T Og Murphy (50), D Browne for Cahill (56).
Scorers: B Beckett 1-4, J Mulhall 0-5 (1 sl), R Foley (1f), S Moylan (2fs) 0-3 each, D Hanley 0-2, S Burke 0-1.
WIT: A Power; B Kenny, R McCarthy, C Cooney; M Dunne, E Barrett, J Ryan; S Lillis, PJ Rowe; R Good, F O’Leary, TJ Reid; K Grehan, T Hammersly, R McLoughney. Subs: S Fives for Barrett (41), S O’Donnell for Grehan (48), J Gahan for Rowe (52).
Scorers: T Hammersly 2-2, R McLoughney 0-5 (5fs), S Lillis 0-3 (2fs), TJ Reid 0-2, F O’Leary, R Good 0-1 each.
Referee: J Owens (Wexford).