Lehane the shining light as UCC win third Fitzgibbon in five years

UCC 2-17 Mary Immaculate College 2-12

UCC retained the Fitzgibbon Cup thanks to an impressive final quarter, in today's decider at Pearse Stadium, Galway.

Man of the match Conor Lehane bagged 1-9 for the Lee-side outfit in a game where first time finalists Mary Immaculate College pushed UCC all the way, before Eddie Enright's charges claimed their 41st crown.

Mary Immaculate College were handed a major boost before the start of this game, after they successfully overturned a straight red card for Declan Hannon which the Limerick man picked up during yesterday's semi-final win over WIT was successful.

The sides were level on three occasions during the opening 16 minutes of this game, but UCC pushed on before the interval to take an 0-9 to 0-7 lead at the break, with Lehane and Paul Haughney on target.

Mary Immaculate kept in touch thanks to scores from Luke O'Farrell and Galway's Conor Cooney, with the St. Thomas clubman starting this game despite having an All-Ireland final to look forward to with his club on St. Patrick's Day.

UCC could have been further ahead at the interval and registered seven first-half wides, including a 29th minute goal chance.

Managed by former Fitzgibbon Cup winner and current Tipperary Senior, Timmy Hammersley along with Limerick's Gavin O'Mahony and Eamon Cregan, Mary I weren't keen to throw in the towel after the break.

Conlon, Brian O'Halloran and O'Farrell on target with points to keep them in touch inside nine minutes of the restart.

Disaster struck for the Limerick outfit in the 40th minute after a Lehane goal shot was initially blocked by Mary I keeper Shane Nolan, but somehow the ball slid over the line.

Mary I fought back with a brace of Sean Curran points, coupled with a Conlon 44th minute goal.

However, UCC kept on top with Lehane continuing to impress, with Adrian Breen also on target to ensure a 1-15 to 1-11 lead with eight minutes remaining.

A Harnedy goal extended UCC's lead to seven points soon after, and with the University side pushing a further point ahead in the 56th minute they weren't to be denied.

Mary I kept up the pressure late on, with Cooney snatching a 60th minute goal, but it was too little too late as UCC celebrated their third title in five years at the full-time whistle.

Meanwhile, LIT-Tipperary claimed the second tier Ryan Cup title following a 1-24 to 2-9 win over IT Tralee at Pearse Stadium.

Shane McGrath fired 11 points for the Thurles outfit, with the Feakle, Co. Clare native also receiving the man of the match award.

After the game Philip Ivors accepted the cup on behalf of a jubilant LIT-Tipperary side.

There are double celebrations in Thurles today after St. Patrick's College from the Tipperary town claimed the Fergal Maher Cup following a 4-19 to 1-7 win over St. Mary's University College-BMC from Belfast at Carnmore.

Kilkenny's Rory Hickey was named the Man of the Match after an impressive haul of 4-5, with two goals in each half.

Thurles Sarsfields clubman Barry McLoughlin accepted the Cup from Higher Education GAA Chairman Ray O'Brien after the game.

Scorers for UCC: C Lehane 1-9 (7f); S Harnedy 1-1; W Egan, B O’Sullivan 0-2 each; D McCormack, P Haughney, A Breen 0-1 each.

Mary I: J Conlon 1-5 (1-3f); C Cooney 1-3 (1-0f); S Curran 0-3; L O’Farrell 0-1.

MARY IMMACULATE COLLEGE LIMERICK: S Nolan; C Fennessy, R O'Donnell, A Ryan; J Wall, D Hannon, Eanna Hogan; C Galvin, S Curran; N O'Meara, W Hickey, C Cooney; J Conlon, B O'Halloran, L O'Farrell. Subs: Eoin Hogan for Hickey (510; L Considine for Eanna Hogan (54).

UCC: D McCarthy; S Maher, D Glynn, K Murphy; J Barry, D Fives, W Egan; P Haughney, B Murray; S Harnedy, D McCormack, B Lawton; B O'Sullivan, C Lehane, B Hartnett. Subs: B Lawton for Murray (46); A Breen for McCormack (52); W Griffin for O'Sullivan (59).

Referee: Barry Kelly (Westmeath)


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