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Kingston: “What Pulled Us Through Was Sheer Courage And Grit”

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University College Cork (UCC) are the Electric Ireland Fitzgibbon Cup champions for the second year running following a dramatic one-point win over IT Carlow on Wednesday evening. 

The Cork outfit overcame all the odds with late points from Darragh Fitzgibbon and Shane Conway seeing them over the line at DCU Sportsground on a scoreline of 0-18 to 2-11.

It all seemed to be going wrong for UCC who conceded two early goals before falling behind by six points in the second half. To make matters worse, they were reduced to 14 players in the final quarter. Following the dramatic win, manager Tom Kingston had a message for begrudgers of the Electric Ireland Fitzgibbon Cup after an epic finale to the prestigious competition’s 2020 edition.

“It was an incredible fightback and incredible comeback (by UCC). At one stage in the second half Carlow IT had all the momentum, we were struggling at times and you have to give credit to the opposition, they played really, really well.

“They showed an incredible hunger for it, they showed an incredible passion for it and it just goes to show what the Fitzgibbon Cup means to both teams. To every student in college that plays hurling, the Fitzgibbon Cup means everything and if anybody doesn’t rate the Fitzgibbon Cup then they should look at these games. It shows what it means to the players.

“They pour their heart and their soul out on those pitches to win these games and it’s incredible, it’s a magnificent competition, we’ve been lucky to win it the last couple of years.

“To win it you need a bit of luck but I have to give credit to the UCC lads. The courage they showed to come back, the desire, the will to win that they showed to come back was there in abundance tonight and that’s what pulled us over the line and they have an incredible bond that bunch of lads.”

On the night, UCC’s match-winner was Kerry forward Shane Conway. The Lixnaw man, who won player of the year in last season’s competition, scored 0-9, including a late, late score that would prove vital come the end.

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Kingston described Conway as a special talent and an exceptional man, both on and off the pitch.

“Absolutely immense… He got some great scores and really crucial at times.

“Look, Shane is a special talent, everybody knows that every team in Ireland would want him, every county team in Ireland would want him but he’s exceptional. And off the pitch, one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet.”

However, spare a thought for Carlow IT.

After their footballers fell to defeat in their first-ever Electric Ireland Sigerson Cup final last week, DJ Carey’s hurlers also have to swallow the bitter pill of coming so close.

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Kingston feels the Carlow IT can hold their heads high following a fantastic final were the pushed the favourites the whole way, right to the end.

“Carlow played really, really well and they’re a fine side and they should be really proud of themselves. DJ Carey and Michael Dempsey should be proud of those lads, they’re very close, they’re really, really close.

“As you can see, they are a point off what we did tonight. A point off, they should be so proud of them and I know they are, they’re a great bunch of guys. But what pulled us through was sheer courage and grit and a will to win, they wanted to win it.”

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Electric Ireland’s Sigerson, Fitzgibbon and Higher Education Championship campaign, FirstClassRivals, showcases the unique trait of these historic GAA competitions that sees unexpected alliances form when fierce county rivals put aside their differences to play together, challenge together, and win together.

Electric Ireland is proud to support the Higher Education Championships and will live stream a selection of Fitzgibbon and Sigerson Cup games. Watch the games and follow the Championship at www.electricireland.ie/hec and be a part of the conversation on social media using the hashtag, #FirstClassRivals or visit @ElectricIreland on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

Author: Michael Corry

Sports Journalist born in Armagh, based in Dublin. Interested in feature writing and listening to unique, engaging stories. Up for the craic too. Email: michael@punditarena.com Twitter: @MickCorryPA Instagram: @Corry_10


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