University of Limerick 2-18 Waterford IT 1-14
University of Limerick bagged their fifth Fitzgibbon Cup title, thanks to a seven-point win over Waterford IT in a replay at Páirc Uí Rinn.
WIT led early on, but once Tipperary's John McGrath (0-06) fired his second point in the ninth minute, Brian Lohan's side never trailed in the contest.
A speculative 14th-minute Daire Quinn goal gave UL momentum, and they moved 1-09 to 0-06 ahead at half-time.
A Tommy Heffernan goal pushed UL 13 points clear after 51 minutes, and although WIT never gave up, a late Gavin O'Brien goal was mere consolation.
In the first replayed decider since 2001, UL made just one change in personnel from the drawn encounter with Jack Browne coming back from suspension.
WIT manager Colm Bonnar banked on starting Austin Gleeson for this game, despite injury concerns, but the Waterford senior player had to be called ashore after just three minutes with a hamstring injury, as his place was taken by Kilkenny’s Johnny Hayes for the remainder of the hour.
UL opened the scoring after 90 seconds thanks to the first of four John McGrath (pictured) points in the opening half, but with scores from Gavin O’Brien and Pauric Mahony, WIT pushed 0-02 to 0-01 ahead after six minutes.,
UL rallied with a trio of points, with McGrath’s second score coming in the ninth minute to hand Brian Lohan’s side a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
A speculative goal from Tipperary man Quinn edged UL 1-04 to 0-03 ahead on 14 minutes, and although a second Mahony point cut the gap to three points soon after, this was as good as it got over the remainder of the contest for the Waterford college.
Points from Kelly and Kevin O’Brien extended the UL lead to 1-6 to 0-4 by the 18th minute, and while UL were taking their scores well, at the opposite end defence also proved good.
WIT weren’t without their chances, but Hayes was denied a 27th-minute goal thanks to a Paul Maher save. They also fired two wides before the break, while in contrast Conor Martin and Kelly added points to push UL to a 1-9 to 0-6 half-time lead.
The sides traded points on two occasions inside six minutes of the restart, but WIT’s wides tally began to mount and UL could do little wrong.
Maher continued to marshal well between the UL posts, while McGrath, O’Brien, Jason Forde and Kelly kept the scoreboard ticking over.
WIT kept battling and the introduction of Ger Malone saw the Mullinavat man make an immediate impact, as he laid a pass off to captain Jake Dillon for a much-needed score.
However, UL upped their game, with Tipperary’s Jason Forde landing a long-range sideline cut to open up a nine-point gap.
WIT kept battling, with Kehoe firing his sides sixth wide of the half, and ninth overall, before Malone was denied by a superb block from UL keeper Maher but UL bagged their second goal through Tommy Heffernan, after a pass from John McGrath in the 51st minute.
WIT never relented and though they finished strongly with a goal from Gavin O’Brien it came too late and Clare’s David McInerney accepted the cup for UL.
Scorers for UL: T Kelly (2f), J McGrath (4f) 0-06 each; T Heffernan 1-01; D Quinn 1-00; K O’Brien 0-02; C Martin, C McInerney, J Forde (0-01 sl) 0-01 each.
Scorers for Waterford IT: P Mahony (5f, 1 '65') 0-08; G O’Brien 1-02; T Fox, H Kehoe, J Dillon, J Hayes 0-1 each.
UL: P Maher; J Browne, D McInerney, G Ryan; D Quinn, B Troy, B Stapleton; T Kelly, D Morrissey; K O’Brien, C Martin, T Heffernan; C McInerney, J McGrath, J Forde.
Subs: S Bennett for C McInerney (50); PJ Scully for O’Brien (56), S O’Gorman for Morrissey (57); K Walsh for Heffernan, E Moriarty for Forde (both 60).
WIT: D Stapleton; O McGrath, G Teehan, J Maher; T Hamill, M O’Neill, T Fox; J Langton, S Roche; P Mahony, L McGrath, H Kehoe; J Dillon, A Gleeson, G O’Brien.
Subs: J Hayes for Gleeson (4, injured); G Malone for L McGrath (46); C O’Brien for Roche (53); J O’Dwyer for Hamill (56).