UCD manager Conor O’Shea said his side will bring ‘something different’ to their Fitzgibbon Cup quarter-final against UCC next week, but they were forced to fight hard for the win they needed against GMIT to progress from Group D.
Goals from Paul Crummey – younger brother of Dublin’s Chris – and Rory Purcell meant UCD were a point clear of their hosts at half-time, although a goal from Galway’s Sean Bleahene saw GMIT off to a flying start.
“That was proper Fitzgibbon fare today. We said we were going to die for it. That has not been a hallmark of UCD over the last few years. The spirit in the group is strong but that game will bring us on a good bit,” said O’Shea.
“We are really looking forward to facing UCC next week. We’re going to try something different down there. If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work, but third-level is all about letting the players decide everything and they’ll drive it.”
Jack Coyne was a force for GMIT in the first half but faded out of the game after a heavy blow before the interval, but a run of five unanswered points settled UCD, two of which came from Ronan Hayes frees.
Both teams had already lost to IT Carlow in the group, but UCD looked to have the edge, with GMIT hanging on thanks to three excellent saves from Eanna Murphy.
UCD were 2-9 to 1-11 clear at the break, and after Eamonn Egan’s score, Hayes hit two more from placed balls to give them control.
And 11 minutes from time, substitute Kevin Desmond popped up at the end of a move to score UCD’s third goal. Hayes’ penalty made sure of the win after Niall Coen had goaled for GMIT, who had Evan Duggan sent off in added time.
Scorers for UCD: R Hayes 1-11 (9f, 1-0pen, 1’65), P Crummey 1-2, R Purcell 1-1, K Desmond 1-0, C Scallan 0-1, E Egan 0-1, M Cody 0-1, E Foley 0-1, C McGuckin 0-1.
Scorers for GMIT: M Kennedy 0-7 (7f), S Bleahene 1-2, N Coen 1-0, J Coyne 0-3 (1’sl), D Mannion 0-2, C Fahy 0-1 (1f), D McPeake 0-1, R Murphy 0-1, D Fahy 0-1
UCD: C O’Donoghue (Dublin); E Carroll (Kilkenny), Ian O’Shea (Galway), Matt Kenny (Kilkenny); J Lalor (Kilkenny), M Purcell (Tipperary), C Scallan (Wexford); E Egan (Kilkenny), M Cody (Kilkenny); L McDwyer (Dublin), R Purcell (Tipperary), R Hayes (Dublin); E Foley (Dublin), C McGuckin (Wexford), P Crummey (Dublin) (c).
Subs: N Heffernan (Tipperary) for Egan (40), K Desmond (Dublin) for McDwyer (45), D Ó Floinn (Dublin) for Purcell (49), S Carey (Kilkenny) for Foley (58), C O’Donovan (Cork) for Carroll (60+2).
GMIT (all Galway unless stated): E Murphy; U McGlynn, M Cullen, S Neary; C Fahy (c), J Forde, E Duggan; D McPeake, J Coyne; R Murphy, D Mannion, B Keary; M Kennedy, S Belahene, E Egan.
Subs: J Cahalane (Tipperary) for Neary (27), N Coen for Egan (43), D Fahy for Keary (51), E Hunt for Kennedy (59).
Referee: M Murtagh (Westmeath).