University of Galway give title holders a big fright

University of Limerick 1-18

University of Galway 0-20

Tom Clancy in Gurteen

IN a Fitzgibbon Cup semi-final of fine margins, University of Galway were unable to deny a formidable University of Limerick, with the Munster college eliminating the Galwegians for the third year in a row.

While the previous two losses were in the showpiece final, this will hurt no less for UG, who could have forced extra-time, with virtually the last puck. However, a rushed effort from Tiernan Killeen tailed wide, meaning that Killian Sampsons effort seconds earlier was the difference after a tough, tight 60 plus minutes of hurling.

After blitzing their way to this stage, UL got their firmest test of the campaign, as Jeff Lynsky’s charges matched them for much of this contest. The sides contested the last two finals, with UL runaway winners 12 months ago, after a controversial ending to the 2022 decider seeing Cian Lynch dismissed for the Galway outfit.

With soft underfoot conditions at the home of St. Joeseph’s Doora Barefield, this was never likely to be a free-flowing contest. UG held many of the key UL men for long periods, but when both Gearoid O’Connor and Mark Rodgers grew in influence, UL grabbed control.

Finishing against 14 men, UG led a half-time but never headed their familiar foes after Rodgers’ 33rd minute goal. Adam English’s late dismissal allowed UG back into the contest but a few late systems failures allowed UL pick off vital scores.

An underwhelming opening half saw the Galway outfit take the interval lead, 0-10 to 0-8. Greg Thomas’ early point was added to by Niall Collins and Alex Connaire, for a 0-3 to 0-2 lead after seven minutes. Neither side put a run together, and it was six each after 20 minuts, with O’Connor and Collins trading frees.

However, a run of three points in-a-row saw UG into a good position nearing half-time. Collins, Liam Leen and captain Conor Walsh were all accurate, with two between them at the change of ends.

Pictured: Cappataggle’s Liam Collins who scored two points in University of Galway’s Fitzgibbon Cup semi-final defeat to UL in Gurteen last Wednesday.

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