Irish Daily Mail Fitzgibbon Cup 2013 - Match Day 1 Previews & Score Updates
Thursday 31st January Score Updates
Halftimes / Fulltimes below
Further Updates on @HigherEdGAA
NUIG 0-18 Mary Immaculate 0-18 Result
UCD 2-13 LIT 0-11 Result
UL 2-19 St.Pats/Mater Dei 0-7 Result
IT Carlow 1-06 Waterford IT 1-11 Result
GMIT 0-14 UCC 0-18 Result
Irish Daily Mail Fitzgibbon Cup Match Day 1 Previews
NUIG v Mary Immaculate 1.30pm @ Dangan (NUIG)
Mary I make a long-awaited return to the premier higher education hurling championship this afternoon as they travel to Galway to face NUIG. Coached by a trio rich in Fitzgibbon Cup experience (Eamonn Cregan, Timmy Hammersly and Gavin O'Mahoney) the Limerick teacher-training college also boast marquee names on the pitch with Limerick's Declan Hannon, Cork's Luke O'Farrell and Galway's Conor Cooney providing the backbone to the side. Although they suffered a defeat against Limerick in the Waterford Crystal, they impressed in the second half of that game and will give any opposition plenty to think about. Having cruised to a Ryan Cup title last season, many feel they could be the dark horses to qualify from a four-team Group A.
NUIG & Galway U-21 manager John Kelly may feel his side are best placed to progress with two winnable home games to commence their campaign (they face GMIT next week). There is a strong Galway influence as always with Niall Burke, Barry Daly and Joseph Cooney to the fore, although Hannon's Limerick team-mate Kevin Downes and Clare's Aaron Cunningham are just a sample of the "foreign" talent at Kelly's disposable. Having lost to Kilkenny U-21's by a narrow margin in last weekend's Walsh Cup quarter-final they will be a force to be reckoned with and a win today would set them half-way to a quarter-final spot.
UCD v LIT 2.00pm @ Belfield (UCD) - Highlights this evening on HEGAATV
UCD featured prominently as a team to watch in this year's tournament when HEGAATV talked to some of the student's involved this year.
The undoubted tie of the opening day sees now-annual contenders Limerick IT travel to the capital to face a rejuvenated UCD side. A long-standing rivalry between two of the mentors (Davy Fitzgerald (LIT), Nicky English(UCD), is a mere sideshow to the star-studded selections set to take the field. UCD boast one of their strongest line-ups in many years with the Kilkenny trio of John Tennyson, Cillian Buckley & All-Ireland Final hero Wally Walsh, Tipperary's Noel McGrath and Wexford's Jack Guiney providing plenty of inter-county experience and fire power. Dubs Oisin Gough and Rory O'Carroll will provide a strong rearguard. It is notable that the panel also includes Cormac Boyle (Westmeath) & Eanna Mac Suibhne (Monaghan) highlighting the opportunity for players from perceived weaker counties to mix it with the best in this great competition.
Fitzgerald's charges, although a little light on household names compared to previous campaigns, will be well drilled as a given and include Clare's Sean Collins, Limerick's Paudie & Sean O'Brien as well as Tipperary's Seamus Callinan (injury doubt). They face a tough task to topple this UCD team, but the Limerick Institute has never shirked a challenge in this competition and will be hoping for a similar result to when the sides last met at the venue in the group stages in 2011.
UL v St.Pats Drumcondra-Mater Dei 2.00pm @ UL
Shane Golden (Clare & UL)
Pre-tournament favourites UL will be expecting a winning start against outsiders St.Pats-Mater Dei. The arrival of Michael Fennelly to the Castletroy campus in recent weaks will give them a huge boost and with the likes established senior inter-county players such as Darach Honan (Clare), Paddy Stapleton (Tipp) and Johnathon Glynn (Galway) at manager Ger Cunningham's disposal it seems likely they will once again progress to the later stages of the championship weekend to be hosted by GMIT.
The Drumcondra students relish the opportunity to compete at this level every year and although their status for next year's competition is uncertain after losing the League Relegation Final against GMIT, they will be hoping to make a case for their inclusion in the 2014 renewal with their championships displays. With students from all over the hurling landscape, Cork's Dean Borsnan and Clare's Niall Arthur may be the most familiar names to outsiders. With student's involved in all aspects of the club, including team management, the trainee teachers will not want for passion and commitment and could cause an upset before February is out.
IT Carlow v Waterford IT 2.00pm @ IT Carlow
Waterford IT travel north this morning to face local rivals IT Carlow in their opening game. Colm Bonnar is back in charge for the first time since their 2010 final appearance Injuries have not being kind with Coolderry starlet & Offaly u-21 Eoin Ryan has gone under the knife with a serious knee injury picked up in the UCC league match. Waterford's Paudie Mahony will also struggle to take part in the Fitzgibbon this year. Players to note include Waterford's former All Star Noel Connors, dual star Liam Lawlor, Wayne Hutchinson, Kilkenny's Eoin Murphy, Wexford's Harry Kehoe & Tipperary's Ciarán Haugh.
The home side are hoping to make their mark in the top flight after an impressive league campaign. The Carlow students accounted for DIT before succumbing to UL in the final.Ollie Walsh of Kilkenny along with Laois duo Stephen Maher and Neil Foyle will be the impact players in what could prove to be a very tight group.
GMIT v UCC 3.00pm @ Carnmore Hurling Club
Title holders UCC head for Galway on their quest to retain the title claimed in epic fashion in the Mardyke last March. They will be hoping to make a similar journey in a month or so to the same venue for the semi-finals. Three-time winner Eddie Enright takes the helm and will be hoping to continue the great tradition of the club and to build on the legacy of departed legend Paul O'Connor. Darren McCarthy in goals along with senior star Conor Lehane lead the local charge with Tipp underage starlets James Barry and Stephen Maher two other crucial players.
GMIT have extra motivation as final hosts this season and led by Galway senior Ger O'Halloran they will be looking to build on last year's narrow quarter-final defeat to the same opposition. Brian Mulrooney (Offaly) and Tadhg Haran (Galway) are two others with inter-county pedigree but they will face an uphill task to turn over the Cork side.