NUI Galway were unable to complete their first Sigerson and Fitzgibbon cup double as they lost to the University of Limerick at a score of 1-21 to 2-15. NUI Galway were unable to stop late surge by UL who scored 1-05 after the 67th minute mark to win their third Fitzgibbon cup in five years and extend NUI Galway’s decade without a Fitzgibbon cup.
Like in the Sigerson cup final, it was a nervy opening few minutes from both sides as each missed easy chances early on, with the first score of the game coming after five minutes. After Evan Niland put up the first points of the game it became very much an end to end first half with the Galway side taking over after two fine goals from John Fleming and Mark Kennedy. The half time score of 2-07 to 0-09 was a far reflection of the first half as NUI Galway’s killer instinct put them on top.
UL came out at the start of the second half and was able to easily erases the four-point cushion the Tribesmen had built up. If it wasn’t for the free scoring heroics of Evan Niland UL could have easily run away with the game early in the second half.
The lack of scoring options was really impacting NUI Galway as only three players managed to score for the Galway side in the entire game. They were lucky that Niland was able to punish the UL side who were able to keep NUI Galway virtually scoreless from play in the second half.
The game completely changed late on however with NUI Galway’s Cian Lynch being sent off after a coming together with a UL player. UL used their one-man advantage to its fullest extent as they surged late on to tie the game going into added time, before breaking Galway hearts with a goal from Mikey Kiely to seal the win for the treaty men.
It was a bitter pill to swallow for NUI Galway who looked to be holding on to complete the double before the late sending off of Cian Lynch. The sending off stings even more after the red card was rescinded following NUI Galway appealing the decision.
They can still hold their heads up high with many players showing their class, particularly Evan Niland, who finished as the tournament’s top scorer with 0-79 and looks to be one off the best free takers in the country.
NUI GALWAY: Liam Reilly; Eoin Lawless, Jack Fitzpatrick, Conor Caulfield; Caimin Killeen, Daniel Loftus, Mark Gill; Ian McGlynn, Philip Hickey; Fionn McDonagh, Evan Niland, Conor Walsh; Cian Lynch, John Fleming, Mark Kennedy.
Subs: Diarmuid Kilcommins for McGlynn (21), Oisin Flannery for McDonagh (39), Adrian Prendergast for Hickey (39), Cian Salmon for Kennedy (55)
Scorers for NUI GALWAY: Evan Niland 0-14 (12fs), John Fleming 1-1, Mark Kennedy 1-0.