A brilliant late flourish, capped off by a clinching goal from substitute Eoin Guilfoyle, saw UCD come from five points behind with ten minutes remaining to win an absorbing Fitzgibbon Cup Group C clash away to Maynooth University.
his was UCD’s first game in the three-team group but Maynooth had already suffered one defeat and as such the onus was on the home team to pick up at least a point, but it was the Dublin outfit who looked the more likely in the first half. With their full-back line dominant under the long high ball preferred by Maynooth, the Dublin college looked the stronger in attack and might have gone in more than three points ahead at half-time.
A couple of goal chances came and went for corner forward James Duggan, one effort going just wide, the other at least yielding a free in for a foul but with Galway’s Donal O’Shea in clinical form from frees they will have been happy with their 0-14 to 0-11 interval lead.
Maynooth, who were highly reliant on the freetaking of the two Drennans from Ballycallan in their half-forward line, put in a ferocious effort after the interval and while they still didn’t ever look like getting through for a goal, they took command of the game with a string of fine points. They had clawed level six minutes into the half through two points from Billy Drennan and one from Conor Kelly.
With Kildare’s Conan Boran pivotal at centre-back and Pierce Blanchfield influential at midfield, Maynooth drove over seven of the next nine points as UCD went into their shell in the third quarter and when Duggan’s superb score with ten minutes remaining made it 0-21 to 0-16, they looked likely to prevail.
But Guilfoyle was one of a number of astute substitutions by UCD and they hit a rich vein of form in the final ten minutes plus injury time, forcing four frees in a row which were meat and drink to O’Shea. The loss of corner back David Fogarty to a second yellow card during that spell didn’t help Maynooth’s cause.
With the gap down to a point and a minute of normal time left, Kilkenny man Guilfoyle drove through the centre of defence and drove the game’s only goal past Niall Holland. That left two points between them and another O’Shea free and a point from Guilfoyle clinched the win with four points to spare after a highly entertaining match.
UCD: D O’Shea 0-12 (9f), E Guilfoyle 1-1, C Foley 0-3, J Duggan, C O’Sullivan, L Murphy 0-2 each, C Prenderville 0-1.
Maynooth University: B Drennan 0-11 (10f), C Drennan 0-4 (1f), C Boran, C Kelly 0-2 each, A Hickey, P Blanchfield, C Fogarty 0-1.
UCD – E Hogan; I Ó Heithir, M Walsh, D O’Donovan; D O’Carroll, C O’Cathasaigh, E Geraghty; S Fenton, K Egan; C Prenderville, C Foley, D O’Shea; J Duggan, C O’Sullivan, L Murphy.
Subs: E Guilfoyle for Egan 35, E Ryan for Foley 40, M Twomey for O’Sullivan 40, D Crowe for O’Donovan 47.
MAYNOOTH UNIVERSITY – N Holland; D Fogarty, E Molloy; N Bolger; J Young, C Boran, L Cassin; P Blanchfield, A Hickey; C Drennan, L Hogan, B Drennan; C Kelly, E Landy, C Fogarty. Subs: L McHale for O’Hogan 47, C Stokes for Kelly 60.
REF- C Flynn (Westmeath)