MTU Cork fall short against Galway in Fitzgibbon opener

Evan Niland stars as visitors turn things around in the second half
MTU Cork fall short against Galway in Fitzgibbon opener

MTU Cork's Liam O'Shea battles for possession against the University of Galway in the Electric Ireland Fitzgibbon Cup, as Seán Walsh and James Mulcahy look on. Picture: Larry Cummins

MTU Cork 2-16

University of Galway 2-21

A superb performance from University of Galway’s Evan Niland was pivotal as MTU Cork began their Electric Ireland Fitzgibbon Cup campaign with a home defeat on Wednesday night.

While the home side had battled back from an early five-point deficit to lead by two early in the second half, a nine-minute period saw the visitors outscore MTU by 1-7 to 0-1, Niland with the goal as part of a personal haul of 1-11 as he drifted effectively from his centre-forward berth.

MTU did try to replicate their first-half response as they reeled off three points – two from Liam O’Shea and one by Ciarán Joyce – to come back to within four, but Galway didn’t allow them any closer. UG now host SETU Waterford in the three-team group next week before MTU travel to Suirside in a fortnight, still with a chance of reaching the quarter-finals.

The Bishopstown college had led by a point at half-time, showing good character to bounce back after conceding an unanswered 1-2 at the beginning of the contest.

Three minutes had elapsed when the visitors’ wing-back Tiernan Killeen delivered a good ball to Niall Collins and, while Cathal Wilson did well to save his shot, Galway’s Greg Thomas was rushing in to deposit the rebound.

With Niland impressing, MTU were soon five points down but they didn’t panic. Liam O’Shea, Cormac Beausang and Seán Walsh had them off the mark before a goal brought them right back.

Brian Roche had been named at wing-forward but started at midfield with Sam Quirke out injured and he latched on to a break before rampaging towards the goal and crashing a shot home.

That left it 1-5 to 1-3 and in the 20th minute they had a further boost as Seán Walsh grabbed a second goal. O’Shea (two) and Roche had points as they moved 2-7 to 1-9 in front as half-time approached and, while Thomas levelled, O’Shea’s fourth of the night gave MTU the interval lead.

When Cormac Beausang landed a fine point on 34, they were two in front but a pair of Niland points had UG level and then Oisín Flannery set up Ian McGlynn to put them back into a lead that would not be relinquished.

Niland was finding pockets of space and taking his chances, exemplified by the 41st minute goal as McGlynn provided the assist before a superb shot to the net.

MTU, for whom Beausang sent over two more excellent points, continued to push in injury time, while Galway full-back Oisín Salmon received a second booking, but they couldn’t force a goal. O’Shea did try to keep a late 20m free low but it went just over the bar and five points separated the sides at the end.

Scorers for MTU Cork: L O’Shea 0-8 (0-4f), C Beausang 0-4, B Roche, S Walsh 1-1 each, C Joyce, B Kehoe 0-1 each.

University of Galway: E Niland 1-11 (0-3f), G Thomas 1-1, N Collins 0-3, D O’Brien, O Flannery 0-2 each, I McGlynn, T Killeen 0-1 each.

MTU CORK (Cork clubs unless stated): C Wilson (Newcestown); C Roche (Sarsfields), P O’Sullivan (Newtownshandrum), L Ryan (Inniscarra); E Murphy (Causeway, Kerry), C Joyce (Castlemartyr), E Collins (Newcestown); B Roche (Bride Rovers), K Murphy (Sarsfields); C Beausang (Midleton), L O’Shea (Lisgoold), S Walsh (Fourmilewater, Waterford); J Mulcahy (Carrigtwohill), P Creedon (Thurles Sarsfields, Tipperary), J Cahalane (St Finbarr’s).

Subs: B Kehoe (Kilsheelan-Kilcash, Tipperary) for Mulcahy (11-18, blood), D Mason (Ballyhale Shamrocks, Kilkenny) for O’Sullivan, Kehoe for Mulcahy (both 43), A Walsh (Kanturk) for Cahalane (45).

UNIVERSITY OF GALWAY: L Reilly; K Hanrahan, O Salmon, M Hardiman; T Killeen, E Lawless, C Cunningham; I McGlynn, A Connaire; B Concannon, E Niland, D O’Brien; N Collins, G Thomas, O Flannery.

Subs: J O’Meara for Flannery (57), J Barrett for Cunningham (60).

Referee: J Murphy (Limerick).

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