UCC Retain Fitzgibbon Cup!
Irish Daily Mail Fitzgibbon Cup Final: UCC 2-17 Mary 2-12
Report via gaa.ie
UCC retained the Irish Daily Mail Fitzgibbon Cup title with a deserved five-point defeat of Mary Immaculate College at Pearse Stadium, Galway this afternoon.
Leading by 0-9 to 0-7 at the break, goals from Conor Lehane and Séamus Harnedy in the second half settled the game in the Leesiders' favour.
Mary I received a massive boost before the game when Declan Hannon was cleared following the red card he received in the semi-final win over WIT yesterday.
Man of the match Conor Lehane opened the scoring for UCC before his Cork team-mate William Egan added to the champions' haul with a fine score. However, Mary I hit back with three scores on the trot, John Conlon with the first two and then Conor Cooney landing a beauty on the turn to give his side the lead on 12 minutes.
UCC responded with a run of four points in succession, Lehane grabbing three of those before Paul Haughney made it 0-7 to 0-4 with 21 minutes played.
Lehane finished the first half with 0-6 to his name, but Cooney, who was released by his club St Thomas' to play from the start having come on as a sub in the semi-final, was in terrific form from limited ball for Mary I, nailing his third from play after a fine effort from his team-mate Luke O'Farrell.
Lehane popped over his final score of the half before UCC's Séamus Harnedy had a great goal chance just before the break, but the Cork star kicked the sliotar wide and the scoreline remained 0-9 to 0-7 in favour of the Leesiders when referee Barry Kelly blew the half-time whistle.
At the start of the second half, UCC moved 0-11 to 0-8 clear thanks to an excellent score from Brian O'Sullivan, before the outstanding Egan then clipped over his second of the game from the half-back line.
Seán Curran pulled one back for Mary I but the Leesiders made the first real break in the 39th minute when livewire Lehane pounced for a goal, his tame enough shot finding the back of the net.
Curran, though, added two more quickfire scores to drag the Shannonsiders back into the game, and they were just a point in arrears when Conlon blasted a 21-yard free to the back of the net at the start of the fourth quarter.
UCC, to their credit, dug deep and the Mary I defence had no answer to a star-studded attack in which Lehane, Harnedy and the quicksilver Brian Hartnett shone.
Harnedy and sub Adrian Breen pushed UCC 1-16 to 1-11 clear, before ‘College' hit their second goal and all but ended the game as a contest. A mix-up in the Mary I defence opened the door for Harnedy and the Cork inter-county man did the rest, blasting his side 2-16 to 1-11 clear in the 53rd minute.
Lehane added some more gloss to the scoreline and brought his tally to 1-9 with a late free, before Eamonn Cregan's side grabbed a late consolation goal, Cooney hitting the back of the net from a free.
UCC Scorers: C Lehane 1-9 (0-7f), W Egan 0-2, D McCormack 0-1, P Haughney 0-1, B O'Sullivan 0-2, S Harnedy 1-1, A Breen 0-1.
Mary I Scorers: J Conlon 1-5 (1-3f), C Cooney 1-3 (1-0f), L O'Farrell 0-1, S Curran 0-3.