Reigning champions University of Limerick will meet Mary Immaculate College in an all-Limerick Fitzgibbon Cup final in Cork IT on Saturday.
Both sides registered impressive semi-final wins in tough weather conditions in Cork this afternoon.
Chasing the double, after a first Sigerson Cup football win in 20 years last weekend, UCD worked hard throughout, but UL showed their experience to claim a 3-14 to 0-16 win in the first semi-final.
A strong second half saw UL to victory, with back-to-back goals from John McGrath and Tommy Heffernan in a 90-second spell late on, paving the way for a seven-point win.
UL had the better of the opening exchanges with points from Clare’s Cathal McInerney and Limerick’s Tom Morrissey helping Brian Lohan’s charges to a 0-03 to 0-01 lead after four minutes.
UCD stormed back to take the lead by the 11th minute, with James Maher, Colm Cronin and Padraic Guinan on target.
A second Morrissey point levelled the tie for the second time, but UCD hit in front once more.
Maher, Eoin Conroy and Oisin O’Rorke all pointed as UCD claimed a 0-07 to 0-04 lead with eight minutes remaining until half-time.
UL worked hard with three of the next four points, but UCD pressed strongly late on.
O’Rorke added another pointed free, while UCD put further pressure on the UL defence in injury-time, with a blazing goal shot from Laois’s Ross King blocked by UL keeper Paul Maher, with O’Rorke failing to convert the resulting 65-metre free.
A further O’Rorke point pushed UCD 0-10 to 0-07 ahead on the restart, but UL mounted a strong comeback.
The Limerick University fired 1-05 without reply, including Heffernan’s first goal.
O’Rorke broke UCD’s scoring dead-lock with a 47th-minute point, as UCD added four points in a row.
But UL dug deep with three-pointers from McGrath and Heffernan confirming victory.
Mary Immaculate College led from the third minute, as they booked a place in their first final since 2013, and second overall, with an 0-11 to 0-09 win over Limerick IT in the second semi-final.
In turbulent weather conditions, Eamon Cregan’s charges impressed throughout to deliver a place in the decider.
Limerick IT settled quickest thanks to an Alan Dempsey point in the opening minute, but Colm Galvin equalised a minute later, before Niall O’Meara put Mary I into a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
A pointed free from Darragh O’Donovan handed the teacher training college a 0-03 to 0-01 lead after seven minutes, but they weather made it tough for both sides to add further to their tallies.
It wasn’t until the 22nd minute before LIT did so, when a point from Clare man Oisin O’Brien cut the gap to the minimum.
Mary I suddenly looked strong with scores from O’Donovan, David Reidy and Declan Hannon opening up a 0-06 to 0-02 advantage after 28 minutes.
However, LIT pegged a point back before the interval with a Peter Duggan pointed free.
Hannon and Diarmuid Byrnes traded pointed frees on the restart, but Mary I continued to look good.
A fourth pointed free from Hannon provided the difference, on a 0-10 to 0-06 score-line with 11 minutes remaining.
However, Mary I were on the rocks, as LIT fired three unanswered points, with Diarmuid Byrnes (2) and Duggan on target to cut the gap to the minimum.
Hannon edged Mary I two points clear with a pointed free in injury-time, and held out to book their place in only their second ever Fitzgibbon Cup final.