WIT 2-21
LIT 3-17 (AET)

A 77th minute Jake Dillon point proved to be the difference as WIT came back from the dead, to register a one-point win over LIT after extra-time, and book a first Fitzgibbon Cup Final appearance since 2010, at Queens University this afternoon.

In ideal weather conditions, LIT looked to be coasting to their first final since 2008, having led by 10 points in the 37th minute, but WIT came good, registering 1-7 without reply in a 20-minute spell.

LIT were strongest in the opening period of normal time and led by 1-12 to 0-6 at half-time, with Clare’s All-Ireland winner David McInerney netting a 25th minute goal.

Davy Fitzgerald’s charges continued to look sharper early on the restart, with a point from Galway’s Paul Flaherty rounding off a trio of points in succession for LIT, and helping them take a 1-15 to 0-8 lead.

WIT upped their game, with Eoin Murphy forcing a 37th minute save from LIT goalkeeper Aaron Murphy, after a powerful goal shot.

Pauric Mahony converted the resulting 65-metre free and added a point from a free soon-after, as WIT’s new-found dominance began to show in all sectors.

Thomas Hamill and Cathal Kenny were among those impressive at the back for WIT, while upfront Wexford’s Harry Kehoe netted a goal at the start of the final quarter, to cut the gap to five points.

Tipperary’s Liam McGrath capitalising on a mix-up by LIT full-back Martin Minehan and feeding the in-rushing Kehoe who made no mistake.

WIT continued to play with great hunger and energy and points from Murphy and Mahony from play cut the gap to three points with 11 and a half minutes remaining.

A brace of Mahony points from frees ensured a 1-15 to 1-14 score-line after 57 minutes, before the Ballygunner clubman delivered an equaliser from 85 metres.

LIT needed an urgent response and they got it from McInerney who drilled home his second goal with 32 seconds left on the clock.

However, WIT weren’t finished just yet, and from the puckout got the ball up-field, with the ball batted down by LIT’s Cian Nolan, before Kehoe rattled the back of the LIT net.

Level at 2-15 apiece at the end of normal-time, momentum was now with WIT, who carried this into extra-time.

Mahony and Murphy fired the first two points in extra-time, and although LIT responded with 1-1, including a Tony Kelly goal, WIT kept going.

A brace of Mahony frees levelled the tie at 2-19 to 3-16 at half-time in extra-time.

Mahony and McInerney traded points on the restart, and although LIT had plenty of chances to cancel out Dillon’s 77th minute point, they failed to convert them as WIT held out for victory.

WATERFORD IT: Stephen O’Keeffe; Ger Teehan, Pauric Gahan, Jerome Maher; Thomas Hamill, Joe O’Dwyer, Shaun Murphy; Stephen Roche, Cathal Kenny (0-1); Harry Kehoe (2-1), Pauric Mahony (0-16, 13f, 2 65’s), Eoin Murphy (0-2); Liam McGrath, Jake Dillon (0-1), Gavin O’Brien. Sub: Jack Langton for Kenny (44).

LIMERICK IT: Aaron Murphy; Sean O’Gorman, Martin Minehan, Cian Nolan; Paul Killeen, Enda Boyce, Barry O’Connell ; Alan Dempsey (0-3), Paul Flaherty (0-2); Tony Kelly (1-5, 4f), Pat Begley (0-1), Mark Gennery; Philip Ivors (0-1), Cathal McInerney (2-2), Jamie Shanahan (0-3). Subs: Shane McGrath for Killeen (46), Padraig Hickey for Gennery (59).

REFEREE: Brian Gavin (Offaly)