UCC and Kerry star Shane Conway said his side had established himself as a 'great team' after retaining the Electric Ireland Fitzgibbon Cup with a comeback win over IT Carlow.

The Kerry star was hailed by his manager Tom Kingston as 'the Messi of hurling'.

"He's just different level," he said. "His hurling brain is just so far ahead of most guys, his skill, his free-taking kept us in the match. He did it all over the pitch, he’s outstanding.

"I think any team in the country would love to have him, he’d make any team in the country but he’s loyal to his club, he’s loyal to his county and I’d have huge admiration for him. I slag him there sometimes, I call him the Messi of hurling, and I don’t think I’m too far wrong, he is the Messi of hurling."

Conway himself was focused on his team's triumph, rather than his own nine-point haul.

"It's a fantastic feeling," he said following the Cork University's record 40th title victory on Wednesday night.

"It was great to win one last year and to do it back to back is special as well. It's great teams that do it back to back."

UCC had trailed Carlow throughout and their goose looked cooked when Niall O'Leary was sent off in the 50th minute but, with Conway to the fore, they reeled off seven points in succession and then hung on for a single-point triumph.

"The sending-off drove us on a small bit," admitted Conway.

"We knew with DCU (their semi-final opponents), we were down three points in the last 10 minutes and just held out because we knew how to manage the game.

"When it came down to the crunch we just maybe pipped it in composure. Other than that it was 50-50.

"We were hammer and tongs at it, both teams. We dominated a lot of patches of the game but they kept coming in with a vital score or free.

"It was just in the finish we decided we would go man for man and see what happens. We got a few vital frees, scores and turnovers and just pulled it off in the finish."

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UCC boss Kingston admitted it was rough justice on Carlow but saluted his side's fighting qualities.

"It was an incredible comeback," he said.

"At one stage during the second half Carlow IT had all the momentum and we were struggling.

"Credit to the opposition, they played really well and showed an incredible hunger and passion for it. They're a fine side and DJ Carey and Michael Dempsey should be proud of those lads. 

"It just goes to show you what the Fitzgibbon Cup means. Every student in college that plays hurling, it means everything.

"We've been lucky we've won it the last couple of years. The courage the UCC lads showed to come back, the desire and will to win was there in abundance and that's what pulled us over the line."