The Fitzgibbon Cup has become a who’s who of hurling elite, with inter-county stars from a plethora of counties across the country coming together in the name of collegiate sport. We’re entering the semi-final stage with UCC meeting DCU in Waterford on Tuesday evening, while Mary Immaculate College clash with NUIG in Cusack Park in Ennis on Thursday afternoon.
It mightn’t attract thousands of fans or make live television, but it’s one of the most fun and entertaining hurling competitions on the go. Here are a few players from each college that will be making their mark on the upcoming semi-finals, dreaming of putting their names in Fitzgibbon folklore forever.
The Kerry forward has been in imperious form for UCC this year, starring in their opener against UL with a nine-point haul. He’s scored 26 points in total and has been one of the most dynamic players in this year’s competition – not bad for a player from a lower tier hurling county.
The Tipp attacker is another young forward delivering in abundance for the Cork university. The Kilsheelan/Kilcash man scored 2-3 in the quarter-final against Carlow IT. He’s yet to really make an impact in county colours, but has shown flashes of becoming yet another prolific Tipperary forward.
The Wexford centre back is part of a defensive six that would make any county manager envious. Along with Dublin pair Chris Crummey and Eoghan O’Donnell, Foley is an established inter-county talisman and is part of the reason why DCU are so highly regarded going into the final rounds. Foley has the size and long striking ability to have a major impact against UCC, and will be tasked with keeping Shane Conway under control.
The Dublin forward is quickly establishing himself as one of the more potent players in county hurling. He hit six points against Offaly in the league, before hitting 1-1 in DCU’s quarter-final win against DIT. DCU have no shortage of attacking flair, with the likes of Rory O’Connor and Billy Ryan, but Burke’s goalscoring exploits will be needed to take them one better than last year’s runners-up finish.
The Cork man grabbed the headlines with an amazing goal against CIT in the quarter-final. The left-hander is slightly overshadowed by the extremely prolific Aaron Gillane, but he’s every bit as talented and his point scoring from play will be necessary to get them over the line in this one.
The giant Clare forward has made huge strides in 2019, breaking into the senior county team and playing a huge part in Mary I’s fortunes thus far. He’ll feel very much at home in Cusack Park in the semi-final clash against NUIG so he should be feeling confident and comfortable out on the pitch.
The NUIG time is built up of nearly an entire team of Galway players. Concannon is an ultra talented attacker that has had to be patient in waiting for his chance at county level, but does have an All-Ireland minor winning medal from 2015 as well as Leinster U21 medal. The Killimordaly clubman was unlucky to be suspended in last year’s All-Ireland final, after he got sent off for the U21 side in their own All-Ireland semi-final.
Another Tribesman who had to be patient for his county, has been blistering for his college. Along with Concannon, Loftus has achieved a successful underage career and made a cameo off the bench in last year’s All-Ireland final against Limerick. The Turloughmore man has hit three scores from a wing back position and a few more will be needed to push NUIG into the final.
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