LIT smash and grab to down unlucky DCU.

Niall McIntyre

DCU suffered a three-point defeat in their opening Fitzgibbon Cup game. Credit: Darragh Culhane

Dublin City University 0-15
Limerick Institute of Technology 2-12
Fitzgibbon Cup first round

Two second half goals from Galway senior Paul Killeen were enough to fire Limerick IT to victory in this hard fought Fitzgibbon Cup encounter on Thursday evening, February 2nd at St. Clare’s.

The home side will wonder how they ended up on the losing side as they had the upper hand on their Limerick counterparts for the majority of the game. However as the old cliché goes, goals win games and the Limerick side’s ability to carve open the DCU defence when it mattered most proved decisive in turning the tide of this contest.

Strong winds and heavy rain pervaded throughout but that did not stop either side from showcasing their skill and determination in an extremely physical contest.

This game began in a tense, tight and high-paced manner and this high intensity lasted until the final minute of the game.

The sides traded early points with DCU’s marauding wing back Paul O’Dea to the fore for the home side while Shane Bennett’s free taking kept his side in the game.

The sides were very well matched in this opening quarter before a hell-bent DCU took over aided by a strong breeze. The DCU charge was led by their dogged defenders with the stylish Darragh Brennan and the imposing Eoghan O Donnell standing out and their attacking unit soon clicked into gear with the industrious trio of Jason Byrne, Joe O’Connor and Gavin Bailey notching some fine scores.

The home side lead by eight points to four at the break but could easily have been six or even seven points to the good. Goalkeeper Robbie Gillen felt that his side “didn’t capitalize on our dominance in the first half, we hit too many wides and it eventually proved costly for us.”

Nick Weir’s DCU machine continued where they left off at the beginning of the second half with Dungarvan sharpshooter Patrick Curran scoring two magnificent points from play. The second of these points was worthy of the metaphorical admission fee alone as the ball was worked up through the field from a Gillen puck-out all the way up to Curran without the ball touching the deck.

Davy Fitzgerald’s Fitzgibbon giants who last won the competition in 2007 awoke soon after with Limerick senior Diarmuid Byrnes leading the charge from wing back with a fine point from play.

LIT were beginning to take over and when Killeen struck for the first of his goals leaving just one between the sides and one wondered how DCU might respond.

However this DCU team has character, resilience and bravery in abundance and they responded in the best possible manner reeling off three unanswered points from play to put them firmly in the driving seat, three points to the good with just six minutes remaining.

LIT lived up to their billing as kingpins of the Fitzgibbon Cup, however, and Killeen’s second goal of the game was followed by three more unanswered points to leave the final scoreline at 2-12 to 0-15.

This DCU team can hold their heads up high and still have a chance of booking a quarter final place when they clash with a Trinity side next week who appear out of their depth in the Fitzgibbon grade.

Jason Byrne, DCU’s hard working wing forward felt his side put in “a savage effort from the word go and perhaps paid for their effort when we ran out of steam and lost our shape in the last few minutes.”

Goalkeeper Robbie Gillen is “adamant we will beat at least one more of the so called big sides before the year is out.”

DCU: Robbie Gillen (Cullion, Westmeath); Sean McCaw (St Vincent’s Dublin), Eoghan O’Donnell (Whitehall Colmcille, Dublin), Darragh Brennan (Carrickshock, Kilkenny); Aaron Maddock (St Martin’s, Wexford), Paudie Foley (Crossabeg/Ballymurn, Wexford), Paul O’Dea (Na Fianna, Dublin); Gavin Bailey (Ferns, Wexford), Joe O’Connor (St Martin’s, Wexford); Liam Fahey (Rockwell Rovers, Tipperary), Rian McBride (St Vincent’s, Dublin), Jason Byrne (Clara, Kilkenny); Killian Doyle (Raharney, Westmeath), Patrick Curran (Dungarvan, Waterford), Eoghan Conroy (St Maur’s, Dublin).

Subs used: Andrew Jamison ‘AJ’ Murphy (Na Fianna, Dublin) for Doyle (45’), Paul Kelly (Craobh Chiaráin, Dublin) for Fahey (52’) ,Tony French (Adamstown, Wexford) for Brennan (56’).

Scorers for DCU: Patrick Curran 0-8 (0-6f), Joe O’Connor 0-2, Paul O’Dea 0-2, Jason Byrne 0-2, Gavin Bailey 0-1.

Limerick IT: Eibhear Quilligan (Feakle, Clare), Ciarán Cooney (O’Callaghan Mills, Clare), Kieran Bennett (Ballysaggart, Waterford), Cian Nolan (Smith O’Brien’s, Clare), Willie Ryan (Clonakenny, Tipperary), Barry O’Connell (Kildimo-Pallaskenry, Limerick), Diarmaid Byrnes (Patrickswell, Limerick), David Reidy (Éire Óg, Clare), Michael O’Malley (Kilmaley, Clare) Paul Killeen (Tynagh Abbey Duniry, Galway), Peter Duggan (Clooneyquinn, Clare), Shane Bennett (Ballysaggart, Waterford), Jamie Shanahan (Sixmilebridge, Clare), Joe Campion (Borris Kilcotton, Laois), David Dempsey (Na Piarsaigh, Limerick).
Subs used: Jason Ryan (Toomevara, Tipperary), Oisín O’Brien (Clonlara, Clare), S. Ryan (Tipperary), Jack Quaid (Effin, Limerick)

Scorers for LIT: Paul Killeen 2-0, Shane Bennett 0-6 (0-3f), Diarmaid Byrnes 0-2 (0-1f), David Reidy 0-1, Michael O’Malley 0-1, Peter Duggan 0-1, S Ryan 0-1.

Referee: James McGrath (Westmeath)

Niall McIntyre

Image credit: Darragh Culhane