Fitzgibbon Cup final: Forde stars as UL justify favouritism

February 24, 2018

UL captain John McGrath proudly raises the Fitzgibbon Cup after his team's victory over DCU ©INPHO/Ken Sutton

UL 2-21
DCU 2-15

Tipperary's Jason Forde helped himself to 1-10 as UL overcame DCU to be crowned Fitzgibbon Cup champions for the third time in five years at Mallow.

Substitute Pat Ryan's late goal sealed victory for the favourites, who were pushed all the way by their Dublin opponents. An upset looked possible when Patrick Curran's 16th minute penalty gave DCU a two-point lead, but Forde hit back with a 25th minute goal to give Gary Kirby's charges a 1-11 to 1-9 half-time lead. 

It remained in the melting pot until seven minutes from the end when John McGrath fed Ryan for UL's second goal. Conor Bourke pulled a late goal back for DCU, but it was a mere consolation score.

DCU had wind advantage in the first half and opened the scoring through Peter Hogan before Rian McBride was denied a goal by David McCarthy. Forde scored two of the next four points as the winners hit the front, but DCU were soon level thanks to scores from John Donnelly, Conor Delaney and Donal Burke.

Curran's penalty, which was awarded for a foul on John Donnelly, handed the underdogs a 1-5 to 0-6 lead before Joe O'Connor extended their advantage to three. However, UL responded impressively with Forde's goal, after good work by Tom Morrissey, Barry Murphy and John McGrath, giving them the edge at the break.

Donal Burke reduced the deficit to the minimum shortly after the restart, but they couldn't get any closer as the Limerick side grabbed five of the next six points to take control. Forde, David Fitzgerald and Ronan Lynch were all on target before Ryan's late goal settled it.

UL - D McCarthy; S Finn, C Cleary, S McGuane; B Heffernan, G Hegarty (0-1), D Fitzgerald (0-2); T Kelly (0-1), R Lynch (0-2); I Galvin (0-1), K O'Brien (0-2), T Morrissey; J McGrath (0-2), J Forde (1-10, 0-7f, 0-1'65), B Murphy. Subs: M Casey for A McGuane, P Ryan (1-0) for K O'Brien, D Gleeson for B Murphy, B Troy for S Finn, J Henley for D Fitzgerald.

DCU - O Foley; P O'Dea, E O'Donnell, C McSweeney; A Maddock, C Delaney (0-1), P Foley; J O'Connor (0-1), D Mullen (0-1); F Whitley, R McBride, D Burke (0-9, 7f); J Donnelly (0-1), P Hogan (0-1), P Curran (1-0pen). Subs: D Byrne for C McSweeney, D Grey for J O'Connor, K Doyle (0-1) for P Hogan, E Conroy for P Foley, C Burke (1-0) for F Whitley.

Referee - F Horgan.

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