MTU Cork see off Trinity College to guarantee Fitzgibbon Cup knockout spot

Away win sets up group-deciding GMIT clash next week
MTU Cork see off Trinity College to guarantee Fitzgibbon Cup knockout spot

MTU Cork's Alan Walsh celebrates his goal against Trinity College. Picture: Inpho/Laszlo Geczo

MTU Cork 1-22

Trinity College, Dublin 1-16

MTU Cork’s secured a place in the knockout stages of the Electric Ireland Fitzgibbon Cup as they earned a hard-fought win away to Dublin’s Trinity College at Santry Avenue on Thursday night.

While the home side were coming off a defeat to Galway-Mayo IT last week – defeat means they exit the competition – they were missing key men for that game and put it up to an MTU side denied the presence of Cork panellists Declan Dalton, Alan Connolly and Brian Roche through injury. While the visitors never trailed, it was only when Alan Walsh struck for a goal to put them 1-18 to 1-13 in front with seven minutes of normal time left that they could breathe easier. A home clash with GMIT next Thursday will determine top spot in Group C.

Liam O’Shea top-scored for MTU, his decade of points evenly split between open play and placed balls, while his half-forward colleague Tomás Howard also contributed five from play. In defence, Liam Ryan had some good moments while Sam Quirke did well at midfield and Cork reserve goalkeeper Ger Collins displayed solid handling and impressive distribution.

After shading the opening ten minutes by 0-4 to 0-3, MTU looked to have made a decisive burst. Andy O’Connell got his second point to put them two in front, then Stephen Keoghan’s good pass allowed O’Shea to land his third and Eoghan Collins did well to bat down a Trinity puckout, with Walsh pointing the breaking ball. When Ger Collins arrowed a puckout straight into Walsh’s hand in the 17th minute, he landed his second point and all of a sudden John Mortell’s side were five to the good.

However, the impressive Jack Lanigan pulled one back for Trinity before Cork star Seán O’Leary Hayes – who scored five points from centre-forward – made a strong run in from the right before feeding Donal Leavy, who was able to bustle through for a close-finish to the net.

A good finish to the first half, with points from Howard and two by O’Shea, saw MTU hold a 0-14 to 1-7 half-time advantage and that lead was extended further as O’Shea got his sixth of the night two minutes into the second half.

While Trinity wouldn’t have any second-half scorers other than O’Leary Hayes and Leavy, their output was sufficient to ensure that the hosts stayed in it. After Quirke’s second put MTU 0-18 to 1-11 in front, they needed a heroic block from full-back William Hurley on a Colin Hart shot, and after Leavy pointed the free that accrued moments later, Trinty’s Aodhán Buggy was unlucky with a pulled effort that went just wide.

When Leavy set up O’Leary Hayes for his fifth point, the lead was just one, 0-18 to 1-13, but Walsh eased worries as he reacted quickest tom fire home when a Ger Collins free broke in the Trinity goalmouth.

O’Shea and Howard tacked points to ensure that MTU had six to spare at the end, leaving them looking forward to next week’s clash with some level of confidence.

Scorers for MTU Cork: L O’Shea 0-10 (0-5f), T Howard 0-5, A Walsh 1-2, A O’Connell, S Quirke 0-2 each, J Mulcahy 0-1.

Scorers for Trinity College: D Leavy 1-8 (0-5f), S O’Leary Hayes 0-5, M Conroy, A Buggy, L O’Sullivan 0-1 each.

MTU CORK: G Collins (Ballinhassig); B Murphy (Carrick Swan, Tipperary), W Hurley (Valley Rovers), L Ryan (Inniscarra); S Keoghan (Graigue-Ballycallan), P O’Flynn (Bride Rovers), E Collins (Newcestown); B Twomey (Carrigtwohill), S Quirke (Midleton); T Howard (Dromtarriffe), L O’Shea (Lisgoold), A Walsh (Kanturk); A O’Connell (Douglas), P Creedon (Thurles Sarsfields), J Mulcahy (Carrigtwohill).

Subs: J Cranny (Abbeyleix) for Collins (half-time), C Hickey (Lisgoold) for Twomey (44), K Murphy (Sarsfields) for O’Connell (45).

TRINITY COLLEGE: C Lynch; J Holohan, P Skelly, K Weldon; L Mitchell, D Phelan, N Hannon; C Ó Ceallaigh, M Conroy; J Lanigan, S O’Leary Hayes, D Leavy; L O’Sullivan, A Buggy, K Bawle.

Subs: C Hart for Bawle (24), L Hart for Hannon (half-time), B Dempsey for O’Sullivan (40).

Referee: S Stack (Dublin).

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