NUIG 0-17 UCC 0-19
UCC opened their Electric Ireland Fitzgibbon Cup campaign, with a narrow two-point victory away to NUIG, in Dangan, Galway.
This was a very close game of hurling, with little to separate the sides, but Tom Kingston’s charges were marginally better than their Western counterparts throughout.
The likes of Cork trio Darragh Fitzgibbon, Mark Coleman and Michael O’Halloran, Kerry magician Shane Conway and Limerick defender Paddy O’Loughlin made some big plays in the second half.
Niall O'Leary did an excellent marking job on Brian Concannon while David Griffin raided up field to slot over two neat points at crucial stages. Keeper Shane Hurley made a smart stop in the early stages of the second half to deny NUIG a goal in the 10-minute period when they asked major questions of the holders.
The Galway college opened the scoring courtesy of a free from Evan Niland, before Paul Hoban doubled the advantage.
An Ian Fox point gave Jeffrey Lynskey’s side a three-point cushion, though UCC responded excellently, scoring seven points in succession to take control by utilising the wind to evade the sweeper.
Robbie O’Flynn got the Cork side's first score, which was followed with Conor Boylan’s effort. A free from Kerry ace Conway levelled the tie, before Griffin gave UCC the lead for the first time. Paddy O’Loughlin’s free was then followed with two points from Michael O’Halloran, as UCC held a 0-7 to 0-3 lead.
NUIG responded, scoring the next three points to reduce the deficit to one, before O’Loughlin scored his second free. Shane Conway then pointed for UCC, but NUIG replied with two of their own. Hennessy’s effort turned out to be the final score of the half, as UCC held a 0-10 to 0-8 lead at half-time.
NUIG scored the first four points of the second half, to turn a two-point deficit into a two-point lead, though UCC responded with six points in a row to regain control.
Niland and sub Mark Kehoe then traded scores, though three successive NUIG points reduced the gap to one heading into stoppage time.
UCC held out however for a two-point win with a foul on Shane Kingston leading to a late penalty that Conway was instructed from the sideline to tap over.
They will face fellow Cork outfit CIT in their next game at the Mardyke and are in the driving seat now to top the three-team group.
Scorers for NUIG: E Niland 0-12 (0-9 f, 0-1 65), I Fox 0-2, P Hoban, M Lynch and S Kennedy 0-1 each.
UCC: S Conway 0-7 (0-4 f, 0-1 pen), M O’Halloran, P O’Loughlin (f) and D Griffin 0-2 each, B Hennessy, R O’Flynn, C Boylan, M Coleman, A Casey and M Kehoe 0-1 each.
NUIG: S Manogue; A Greaney, J Fitzpatrick, C Killeen; D Loftus. P Hoban, K Hussey; S Loftus, I Fox; C Lawless, J Fleming, B Concannon; S Fletcher, E Niland, C Elwood.
Subs: M Lynch for Lawless (h-t), L Forde for Elwood (38), M Gill for Greaney (42), S Kennedy for Fletcher (45).
UCC: S Hurley; D Lowney, E Murphy, D Griffin; M Coleman, P O’Loughlin, N O’Leary; A Casey, B Hennessy; R O’Flynn, C Boylan, S Conway; M O’Halloran, S Kingston, D Fitzgibbon.
Subs: M Kehoe for Kingston (4, B/S), S Kingston for Kehoe (24, B/S reversal), R Connolly for Griffin (28, B/S), D Griffin for Connolly (30 +3), K O’Dwyer for Murphy (h-t), M Kehoe for O’Flynn (39), R Connolly for Hennessy (42).
Referee: J Murphy (Limerick)