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Annihilation: UL hammer UCC to advance to Fitzgibbon Cup semi-final

UL 4-18 - UCC 0-8: An annihilation.

There’s no other way to accurately describe this Fitzgibbon Cup quarter-final.

UL looked in a pretty decent position at the break, leading 2-10 to 0-6, but most in the large crowd which congregated on the bank expected some semblance of a response from the visitors in the second period. It never came.

UL's Conor Cleary under pressure from UCC's Brian Troy. Pic: Brian Arthur

Tony Kelly and Barry Murphy threw over the first two points of the second-half and when the latter was fouled to prevent a third UL goal, the hosts were awarded a penalty. Jason Forde converted, his side now 3-12 to 0-6 in front.

There followed five unanswered points from Gary Kirby’s students. The game had become dreadfully one-sided.

Matters went from very bad to much worse for UCC when their captain Michael Breen was dismissed on a second yellow card entering the final quarter. Rickard Cahalane struck their first score from play and their first of the second-half eight minutes from the end.

The hammering was complete when Barry Murphy dispatched a second UL penalty.

UCC were in real trouble at half-time, trailing by eight points. All six of their points came from frees, reflective of the extent to which they were struggling to break down a Limerick rearguard superbly marshalled by Conor Cleary.

Barry Murphy delivered UL’s opening goal three minutes in, with Jason Forde finishing their second on 17 minutes. That sent the hosts 2-4 to 0-3 clear. Come the interval, all bar John McGrath of their starting front six had found the target. Their midfield pair was also among their contributors.

They never let up upon the restart.

Scorers for UL: B Murphy (2-4, 1-0 pen, 0-2 frees); J Forde (2-1, 1-0 pen); T Kelly, I Galvin (0-3 each); P Maher, T Morrissey G Hegarty (0-2 each); K O’Brien, (0-1 each).

Scorers for UCC: S Kingston (0-5, 0-5 frees); D Fitzgibbon (0-1 free), M O’Brien, R Cahalane (0-1 each).

UL: D McCarthy (Limerick); S Finn (Limerick), B Troy (Kilkenny), A McGuane (Clare); G Hegarty (Limerick), C Cleary (Clare), D Fitzgerald (Clare); T Kelly (Clare), P Maher (Tipperary); I Galvin (Clare), K O’Brien (Limerick), T Morrissey (Limerick); J McGrath (Tipperary), J Forde (Tipperary), B Murphy (Limerick).

Subs: B Heffernan for Troy (20 mins); D Gleeson (Tipperary) for Forde, M Mullins (Galway) for McGrath (48); S Roche (Galway) for McGuane (52); JP Lucey (Waterford) for Kelly (53).

UCC: J Barry (Cork); S O’Donoghue (Cork), D Griffin (Cork), C Gleeson (Waterford);C McGrath (Kilkenny), C Browne (Kilkenny), R Cahalane (Cork); M Breen (Tipperary), D Lowney (Cork); M O’Brien (Waterford), D Fitzgibbon (Cork), J Power (Kilkenny); S Kingston (Cork), T Devine (Waterford), R O’Flynn (Cork).

Subs: E Murphy (Cork) for McGrath (20 mins); B McCarthy (Tipperary) for O’Flynn (HT); E Gough (Kilkenny) for Fitzgibbon (38); N Cashman (Cork) for Power (45); E Gunning (Cork) for Kingston (55).

Referee: A Kelly (Galway).