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MIC Retain the Fitzgibbon Cup

28 March 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Lorraine Hynes
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Mary Immaculate College made it a Fitzgibbon Cup two-in-a-row on Saturday 25 February when they overcame IT Carlow in the final of the championship.

MIC were in sparkling form as they laid the foundation for their 11 point victory in the opening half of the match.  MIC, backed by the breeze, got off to a great start with points from Michael O’Neill, Aaron Gillane and Conor Twomey in the opening four minutes. IT Carlow rallied and Stephen Maher got them off the mark after five minutes with the first of five pointed frees which he delivered in the opening half.  

MIC didn’t rest on their laurels. Darragh O’Donovan hit two superb points from the sidelines, while Tipperary star Ronan Maher landed four, three of them frees from distance. That kept pushing the reigning champions further ahead and they led by 0-9 to 0-3 at the end of the opening quarter. However IT Carlow fought on, with points from Colin Dunford and Charles Dwyer finding range. MIC finished the opening half strongly, with superb points from former All Star Colm Galvin and Cian Lynch. When the half time whistle blew MIC led 0-16 to 0-8.

Two quick frees saw IT Carlow cut the gap in the opening four minutes of the second-half, but O’Neill hit back with his third point for MIC. Carlow suffered a huge blow when Darragh O’Donovan pounced for the opening goal after 36 minutes, with Conor Twomey extending MIC’s lead with a point from distance.

IT Carlow, appearing in their first final, never gave up and points from Martin Kavanagh and Maher gave them hope as they reduced the margin to 1-20 to 0-14 going into the final quarter. However MIC struck another huge blow when Aaron Gillane netted a penalty after he was fouled by Kevin Hannafinn with 12 minutes left. 

With six minutes left in the match Maher got a goal for Carlow, but the gap proved too much for the newcomers and MIC finished with a flourish thanks to a Tim O' Mahony goal.

Speaking after the game MIC’s Senior Hurling Manager Jamie Wall said: “I’m very proud of the team, they have worked so hard all during the campaign and delivered again when it mattered. We did well with the wind in the opening half and then got gaols at crucial stages in the second half.”

He congratulated his opponents for a great game. “Our display was as close to perfect as you can ask for from a team, when you consider the quality of the team we were playing against. For the last four years since fresher’s these two teams have come up against each other and our boys hadn’t won a game yet against them. They are every bit the team that deserve to be in the Fitzgibbon Cup final today and it’s just that our boys had one of those days when everything went right for them and we are absolutely delighted with our own performance.”

This mark’s Jamie’s first year at the helm following Eamonn Cregan’s retirement after last year’s Fitzgibbon Cup final “Following on from Eamonn last year, this is a massive achievement for me. I was lucky because I’ve been acquainted with the players for a few years. I hurled here in the Fitzgibbon Cup final myself with one of the team, there’s only one of them still in college, and I’ve known the others for a couple of years. I came to see them before they played in 2015 when I was still in hospital, I came to see them play against WIT and then last year I got involved as a selector so the ‘following act’ was very much trying to change just a few small things but not to try and reinvent the wheel." 

It was evolution rather than revolution that was our motto with this team and I suppose it worked.”

IT Carlow manager DJ Carey paid tribute to Jamie and MIC after the match. “He’s an inspiration to everyone”, said the Kilkenny legend. “I don’t wish to be any way patronising to him, but what he has achieved is phenomenal. Of course we would have loved to have won and completed what has been a wonderful journey for us but the better team won. We kept battling away and hopefully we will have our day again.”

 Fulltime score MIC 3-24 to IT Carlow 1-19 

Mary Immaculate College Team:
1. Ciaran Barrett; 2. David Sweeney; 3. Richie English; 4. Eoin Quirke (captain); 5. Conor Twomey; 6. Ronan Maher; 7. Alan Flynn; 8. Colm Galvin; 9. Stephen Cahill; 10. Darragh O’Donovan; 11. Michael O’Neill; 12. Aaron Gillane; 17. Tadhg Gallagher; 14. Cian Lynch; 22. Luke Meade. Subs 13. Thomas Monaghan for Gallagher (half-time); 27. Tim O'Mahony for O’Neill (55); 15. Sean Burke for Gillane (63).

Scorers for Mary Immaculate College:
A Gillane 1-5 (1-0 pen, 0-4f). D O’Donovan 1-3 (0-2 sl). R Maher 0-4 (0-3f). T O'Mahony, 1-0. M O’Neill 0-3.  C Lynch 0-3.  C Twomey 0-3. C Galvin 0-1. L Meade 0-1. S Cahill 0-1.




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