Fitzgibbon Cup: Gillane stars as Mary I make final return

February 14, 2019

Limerick's Aaron Gillane.
©INPHO/Tommy Dickson.

Mary Immaculate College 1-18
NUI Galway 0-18

Mary Immaculate College will face UCC in next Saturday week’s Fitzgibbon Cup final after holding on for a thrilling victory over NUI Galway in Ennis this afternoon.

In the end, Aaron Gillane’s 30th minute penalty was what separated the teams as NUIG could only manage to level in the second-half rather than hit the front against the 2017 champions.

After an airtight opening half-hour, it was Gillane’s strike which was the telling difference at the break with Mary I leading by 1-8 to 0-9 when they went into the Cusack Park dressing rooms.

The teams were level on no fewer than five occasions throughout the first-half, as Sean Kennedy’s point off the back of brilliant work from Brian Concannon for NUIG had the scoreboard reading 0-8 apiece prior to Gillane raising the green flag at the other end after Clare's Colin Guilfoyle had been fouled in the square.

The Galway lads got motoring early on in the restart and through free-taker Evan Niland they were level at 1-12 to 0-15 before falling two behind again through the frees of Limerick star Gillane, who finished with 1-12 to his name in this semi-final.

Concannon trimmed the difference to one but Cork ace Luke Meade rifled over from midfield prior to Guilfoyle opening up the margin again for the victors with 10 minutes left on the clock.

Gary Cooney, Colin O’Brien and Gillane (free) would stretch the lead out to four over the next six minutes prior to two more placed balls from Niland at the other end outweighing Gillane’s last to leave it a three-point game headed into the added minutes.

NUI Galway put the heat on right to the finish and carved out one last goal chance which saw the sliotar flicked to Mary I’s net by Liam Forde before being ruled out for a square ball by Tipperary referee Johnny Ryan.

Mary Immaculate College - E Cahill; E Ryan, D Browne, D Prendergast; C Morgan, S Downey, T Grimes; P Hickey, L Meade (0-1); A Gillane (1-12, 1-0pen, 0-7f, 0-1sl), T Monaghan (0-1), C O'Brien (0-2); M O'Loughlin, C Guilfoyle (0-1), G Cooney (0-1). Subs: R McCormack for M O'Loughlin, S Burke for C O'Brien, B Buckley for G Cooney.

NUI Galway - S Hennessey; A Greaney, J Fitzpatrick, D Connolly; S Loftus, P Hoban, C Caulfield; S Kennedy (0-1), I Fox; B Concannon (0-2), L Forde (0-1), M Lynch; C Sheedy, C Whelan (0-1), E Niland (0-13, 10f). Subs: D Burke for M Lynch, B Corry for A Greaney, S McArdle for I Fox, S Fletcher for S Kennedy.

Referee - J Ryan.

If you missed it, you can watch the match in full below:

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