University of Limerick has claimed the Freshers Hurling 1 Division Championship with a 1-24 to 1-18 victory against University College Cork. The match, which took place at Mallow’s GAA complex, has set the bar high for the potential next generation of Fitzgibbon Cup players. Manager and four time All-Star award winner, Gary Kirby, expressed his delight at the long awaited win.
“It was a great relief after coming so close so many times before. UCC drew level at full time and heading into extra time, I thought ‘Not again’, but the lads played very well and you could actually enjoy it.”
After a disappointing loss to UCC in the league final before Christmas, the victory against their opposition was that bit sweeter.
“It was tough but probably helped them focus on what was needed to be done to win the championship. This was extra special because of all the close calls we had over the last few years and being the first one for the college it was great.”
Alan Murphy came away as the game’s top-scorer with a tally of 1-14. Murphy dominated most of the game matching UCC point for point and scoring six of their eight points in extra time.
With UL’s senior team claiming the Fitzgibbon Cup, the pressure is on their Freshers team to repeat the success next year.
After his own successful career both at club and inter-county level, Kirby’s advice to his team will certainly be heeded. “As in all teams not everyone will make it to Fitzgibbon but I think most of these guys can make the step up. It’s important they look after themselves away from the field. They have the talent and shouldn’t forget that.”
For now, however, the team is still basking in their win. “I couldn’t stay for the celebrations as I had to go to work but I’m told they had a great night.” Kirby adds. UL GAA finishes off their season with their first Freshers Championship win and their fifth Fitzgibbon title.