Tuesday, January 31, 2017

UCD’S DJ Foran on the attack against Maynooth University during their Independent.ie Higher Education GAA Fitzgibbon Cup Group D game at Belfield, UCD. The Portlaw man was just one of the many Waterford players who starred in the first round of the competition. Photo: INPHO/Donall Farmer.

Fitzgibbon Cup specialists Waterford I.T. face an uphill battle to make to the quarter-finals following a 1–14 to 0–10 first round defeat by Dublin City University in Glasnevin on Tuesday last. Fielding without Austin Gleeson, who was serving a one match suspension carried over from the straight red card received in last year’s defeat by L.I.T., the Waterford side failed to match the intensity of their Dublin opponents for whom Dungarvan’s Patrick Curran was in top form as he accounted for 1–6 of his side’s total.
With WIT’s Liam McGrath and Curran trading early points it was Curran who put daylight between the teams when he shot the only goal of the game in the 10th minute. Thereafter it was point for point with WIT still in the game as they trailed by 1–7 to 0–7 going into the second half. Early second half points from Liam McGrath and Andrew Joyce left just one point between the sides but DCU continued to show the greater appetite for the fray and two points from Curran and one each from Gavin Bailey and substitutes Killian Doyle and A.J. Murphy opened up a five point lead.
While the WIT defence, with Willie Hahessy and Tom Fox prominent throughout, did well to hold the Patrick Curran led attack to just seven points in the second period their attack posed little threat with the notable exception of Liam McGrath. A late point from substitute Calum Lyons was W.I.T’s only score of the last quarter before added time points from Curran and Wexford’s Joe O’Connor made certain of the Dublin side’s victory.
Besides Patrick Curran, his county U–21 colleague, Ballygunner’s Peter Hogan also made a telling contribution to the DCU victory with a point on the scoreboard.
Scorers:- DCU – Patrick Curran 1–6 (0-3Fs), Joe O’Connor and Rian McBride 0–2 each, Gavin Baily, Peter Hogan, Killian Doyle, A. J. Murphy 0–1 each.
WIT – Liam McGrath 0–7 (6Fs), Shane McNulty, Andrew Joyce and Calum Lyons 0–1 each.
WIT – Mark Fanning (Wexford), Willie Hahessy (Waterford), John Henderson (Kilkenny), Tom Fox (Tipperary), Simon O’Donoghue (Wexford), Joe O’Dwyer (Tipperary), J. P. Treacy (Kilkenny), Shane Murphy (Kilkenny), Shane McNulty (Waterford), Andrew Joyce (Kilkenny), Joe O’Connor (Wexford), Pa Walsh (Waterford), Shane Ryan (Waterford), Ciaran O’Brien (Cork), Liam McGrath (Tipperary). Subs – Calum Lyons (Ballyduff Lower) for O’Connor, Gerry Lane (Cork) for Joyce, Conor Nevin (Galway) for O’Brien.

If Patrick Curran topped the scoring chart for DCU his feat was emulated across the in other games by his All Ireland U–21 winning colleagues and nowhere was it done more emphatically than in the same group where an inspired performance by Ballysaggart’s Shane Bennett drove LIT to a runaway win over Fitzgibbon debutantes Trinity College in Limerick. The Déise ace accounted for 3–7 of his side’s total in their 4–21 to 0–7 victory, producing a sparkling individual performance for Davy Fitzgerald’s team that also included his brother Kieran at full-back.
On the other side of Limerick the third Bennett sibling Stephen made his telling contribution to a star studded University of Limerick victory over Cork I.T., weighing in with a personal tally of 1–1 in a final score of 2–23 to 0–16. On the losing side Ballyduff Upper’s Mikey Kearney was top scorer, contributing 0–11 of his side’s total.
Keeping step with his county colleagues on the scoresheets Portlaw’s D. J. Foran emerged as top scorer for U.C.D. as the Dublin side outpointed Maynooth by 0–21 to 0–13 in Belfield. Foran, who was in scoring form for Waterford in recent Munster League games continued in that vein with 0–10 to his name, four of the points coming from frees. The U.C.D. side also included senior star Tadhg De Burca (Clashmore-Kinsalebeg) at centre back and former county minor fullback Eddie Hayden (Ballygunner) at corner back.
Though Gavin O’Brien was the only Waterford player to figure on the scoreboard with two points to his name in U.C.C.’s expected big win over Jordanstown in Cork there was a big Waterford presence in the side’s 5–13 to 2–4 victory. Though Jamie Barron was unable to line out due to an injury no fewer than five Waterford players were in the starting line up, namely Ian Kenny (Ballygunner), Shane Roche (Shamrocks), Conor Gleeson (Fourmilewater), Tom Devine (Modeligo) and Gavin O’Brien (Roanmore).
Both Colin Dunford and Micheál Harney missed out on I.T. Carlow’s 4–18 to 1–15 win over Dublin I.T. through injury but Colligan’s Ross Browne did line out at corner back. N.U.I. Galway had an easy win over St. Pats, Drumcondra who had An Rinn players Christy Breathnach and Jamie De Barun on board and in the remaining game that featured no Waterford players defending champions Mary I., Limerick defeated Galway Mayo I.T. by 2–31 to 0–16 and N.U.I. Galway.
The second round of Fitzgibbon Group games takes place on Thursday with WIT again travelling to Dublin to play Trinity College at 7p.m.. They will have Austin Gleeson back on board and need a big win there before facing Limerick I.T. in a make or break game in Carraiganore the following week.

Ballysaggart’s Shane Bennett was on fire for Limerick IT scoring 3-7 (2-1 from play) against Trinity College. 

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By Phil Fanning
Contact Newsdesk: 051 874951

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