A 14-point game from Evan Niland sent NUI Galway through to the Fitzgibbon cup semi finals against GMIT after overcoming Waterford IT at a score of 1-22 to 2-13 on a bitterly cold Dangan night.
Waterford got on the scoreboard first from a free scored by their goalkeeper Barry Nolan who was immense throughout with his distribution. However, it was not long until the home side took over and built up a lead that would not be overcome by the Waterford side.
Defensive lapses by NUI Galway kept this game close as Stephen Barrett scored a penalty for the away side midway through the first half. The talent of the Galway forwards though was too much to keep this game too close as an excellent solo goal from Fionn MacDonagh and scores from the likes of Cian Lynch was too much for Waterford IT to handle.
The half time score of 1-11 to 1-8 may have made it seem like it was a close game, but those in attendance could see NUI Galway was the better side from play.
The difference was beginning to show on the scoreboard at the second half as Galway were able to open up a 9-point lead 10 minutes into the second half as some ill-discipline from the Waterford side was punished by the clinical Evan Niland.
Poor defending continued to cost Galway however, as consecutive points and a converted penalty cut the lead to 3-points. However, it did not seem to faze an experienced Galway side as Evan Niland continued his superb form from the dead ball and the game never truly seemed at risk for the home side.
It is now onto a semi-final against Galway neighbours GMIT who have been somewhat of a surprise package this year given their history in the competition. This is not to say that they will be a walk over and they have several players who will no doubt give NUI Galway trouble including their own free scoring threat in Kevin Cooney who scored 11 points in their quarter final victory over TUS Midwest.
On the brightside, it guarantees a Galway side will be in a Fitzgibbon cup final for the first time in over a decade.
NUI GALWAY: L Reilly (Castlegar); E Lawless (Athenry), J Fitzpatrick (Killimordaly), C Caulfield (Kilconieron); C Killeen (Loughrea), D Morrissey (Sarsfields), M Gill (Castlegar); D Kilcommins (Annaghdown), I McGlynn (Kilconieron); C Walsh (Turloughmore), C Lynch (Patrickswell, Limerick), F MacDonagh (Moycullen); P Hickey (Nenagh Éire Óg, Tipperary), J Fleming (Meelick-Eyrecourt), E Niland (Clarinbridge)
Subs: C Salmon (Clarinbridge) for MacDonagh (temp, 30-30+2), M Kennedy (Clarinbridge) for McGlynn (50), O Flannery (St. Thomas’) for MacDonagh (52), N Collins (Cappataggle) for Hickey (60)
Scorers for NUI Galway: E Niland (0-14, 12f); C Lynch (0-3); F MacDonagh (1-0); C Killeen (0-2); M Gill, J Fleming, M Kennedy (0-1 each).