NUI Galway started their Fitzgibbon campaign on the right foot as they emerged 1-21 to 1-18 winners over UCD.
The game started off with a couple of bad wides from both sides before Galway Man Donal O’Shea put UCD in front from a free after 5 minutes before some good play put the Galway side in front thanks to John Fleming and Cian Lynch.
Fionn McDonagh was able to put a bit of daylight between the sides after 10 minutes with a goal for NUI Galway that put them 3 points up. The free taking of Donal O’Shea kept the game competitive as the Galway side pulled 6 points clear towards the end of the first half as they were able to win the Midfield battle.
The second have was a closer affair as UCD started off with three unanswered points before 4 frees from Evan Niland returned the game to a 6-point difference in the Galway sides favour. This lead was cut down midway through the second half as a great run from UCD midfielder Eoin Guilfoyle concluded with a goal and the lead being cut down to 2 points.
The scoring ability of Evan Niland was enough for the NUI Galway to remain in front despite of the best efforts of Donal O’Shea and Lahiff. The final score of 1-21 to 1-18 was probable a fair reflection on the game. There was some outstanding hurling on display from both teams as the Fitzgibbon has resembled intercounty hurling more and more over these last few years it is a true achievement to win this competition.
Evan Niland and Cian Lynch were some of the difference makers in this game, and they showed all of their intercounty experience in overcoming a resilient UCD team. Both of these players will be key to any hope that this NUI Galway side have of silverware with the unparallel talent of Lynch and the otherworldly free taking ability of Niland both needed in this competition. It was a good start for the NUI Galway team as they continue their campaign this year.
NUI GALWAY: L Reilly (Castlegar); E Lawless (Athenry), D Morrissey (Sarsfields), I McGlynn (Kilconieron); M Gill (Castlegar), J Fitzpatrick (Killimordaly), C Caulfield (Kilconieron); C Killeen (Loughrea), C Lynch (Patrickswell); B Concannon (Killimordaly), C Walsh (Turloughmore), F McDonagh (Moycullen); E Niland (Clarinbridge), J Fleming (Meelick/Eyrecourt), P Hickey (Eire Og).
Subs: O Salmon (Clarinbridge for McGlynn (26-27, blood), D Kilcommins (Annaghdown) for Walsh (48), E McMahon (Crusheen) for McDonagh (49), S Burke (Kilconieron) for Killeen (52), Salmon for Lawless (57), L Forde (Ardrahan) for Hickey (60).
Scorers for NUI Galway: E Niland (0-12, 8f), J Fleming (0-5), C Lynch (0-3), F McDonagh (1-0), B Concannon (0-1).