Ryan steers UL to Fitzgibbon glory

UL Fitzgibbon Cup manager Brian Ryna.

BRIAN Ryan has masterminded University of Limerick to back-to-back wins in the Fitzgibbon Cup Senior Colleges Hurling Championship.

It was UL’s eight win in the competition. 

UL defeated SETU Waterford at Carrignore on Thursday night last, before following this up with victory over University Galway, 4-19 to 1-13, at the same venue just 48 hours later. 

“I think that game against Waterford stood to us very well,” reflected South Liberties clubman Ryan. “We got a real test on Thursday night, and we improved from it. Our matches in the group stage weren’t as tough as we would have liked, so we needed a tough game and that got us finely tuned for today.”

On Saturday, rising Waterford star Mikey Kiely (Abbeyside) – who scored the dramatic late winner against in the ’22 final – was the game’s outstanding performer, emerging with an incredible haul of 4-1. 

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“He was well marshalled on Thursday night, himself and Sean Twomey got no luck at all on Thursday night,” said Ryan. “It was Bryan O’Mara (Tipperary, joint captain along with Clare’s Mark Rogers) and Colin Coughlan (Ballybrown) and the lads further out the field who got a few points between them for us on Thursday. The inside lads hardly got a chance, but it opened up for them today, for the likes of Mikey, and they took the chances.”

Adam English of Doon chipped in with a couple of fine points for the winners. 

It’s nearly 20 years ago now since Darragh O’Neill of Ahane captained UL to win their first Fitzgibbon Cup in 1993/’94. (In 1989, UL’s predecessor, NIHE, won the Fitzgibbon Cup under the captaincy of Clare’s Dan Treacy. NIHE were the first non-University winners).