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Fitzgibbon Preview: Knockout Places On The Line In Crucial Final Round

Fitzgibbon

It’s the final round of group games in the Electric Ireland Higher Education Fitzgibbon Cup with plenty of quarter-final spots up for grabs.

In Limerick, 2018 champions UL face Maynooth University with the winner set to travel to take on the winner of Mary Immaculate College and WIT. That game also takes place in the Treaty County on Thursday afternoon.

Meanwhile, CIT and NUIG battle it out in Cork with the winner set to face IT Carlow in the knock out stage.

UCD became the latest side to book their place in the Electric Ireland Fitzgibbon Cup quarter-finals with a 4-19 to 2-18 win over GMIT in Carnmore on Wednesday evening.

Read our preview of Thursday’s games below.

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Group A

University of Limerick v Maynooth University: Thursday, January 23rd, UL, 7.30pm.

A runners-up spot in the quarter-finals awaits the winners of UL and Maynooth on Thursday evening in Limerick. Both sides have recorded a win over Trinity College as well as a loss to DCU leaving all to play for in the final round.

Fitzgibbon
UL and Tipperary player, Cian Darcy

UL fell to Eoin Roche’s side in the opening round with a three-point loss but bounced back in style against Trinity last week, netting three goals. Tipperary’s Cian Darcy has been in fine form for Gary Kirby’s men, registering 2-21 across their two games while Limerick’s Ronan Lynch and Kilkenny’s Michael Carey have also been impressive.

Meanwhile, Maynooth battled bravely against DCU with Conor Drennan finishing with 1-8 to his name, but they relied on a late free from Andrew Gaffney to sneak past Trinity in the opening round. The Kilkenny man, along with Drennan and Conor Stakelum have caught the eye for the Kildare outfit but a place in the quarter-final might be a step too far for the college who won the Electric Ireland Ryan Cup in 2018.

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Group B

Mary Immaculate College v Waterford IT: Thursday, January 23rd, MICL Grounds, 3pm.

Mary Immaculate College welcome Waterford IT to Limerick on Thursday afternoon for a titanic battle to decide who will top Group B.

Last year’s finalists have been very impressive so far in this year’s tournament, opening with a nine-point victory over TU Dublin before comprehensively overcoming neighbours LIT in a four-goal victory last weekend. Jamie Wall’s men have plenty of potent attackers in the form of Gary Cooney, Andrew Ormond and Colin O’Brien, to name a few, and will prove a formidable opponent on their home pitch.

Fitzgibbon
Mary I and Clare’s, Gary Cooney

However, WIT are well up for the task given their performances so far. Following on from a nine-point victory over LIT, the Fintan O’Connor-managed side put four goals past TU Dublin in the second round. Free-taker Stephen Condon has been their top scorer with 0-23, but Austin Gleeson, Eddie Meany and Tom Barron have also impressed. A home quarter-final awaits the winner of this exciting clash.

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Group C

 

Cork IT v NUI Galway: Thursday, January 23rd, Cork IT, 7pm.

NUIG travel to Cork to face CIT in the final game in Group C with the winner progressing to face IT Carlow in the Electric Ireland Fitzgibbon Cup quarter-finals.

The Galway side narrowly fell to reigning champions UCC in a captivating encounter in the opening round with county star Evan Niland leading the charge with 12 points. They will also look to the likes of Sean Loftus, Ian Fox and Paul Hoban to help them over the line in Cork.

Fitzgibbon
NUIG and Galway star, Sean Loftus

CIT sat out the opening round and provided a tough opposition for UCC in their second game. While last year’s winners dominated the first-half, CIT responded superbly in the second half with Liam O’Shea notching up nine points throughout. While they eventually fell to a seven-point defeat, they proved they are not a side to be underestimated in this competition. While NUIG have enjoyed longer preparation time leading into this clash, home advantage may give CIT the boost they need to reach the next stage.

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.

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Author: The PA Team

This article was written by a member of The PA Team. If you would like to join the team, drop us an email at write@punditarena.com.