The LYIT hurlers went down fighting in the final of the Corn Padraig Mac Diarmada Championship Third Level Final at Queens University Belfast on Friday.
Letterkenny Institute of Technology 1-16
Robert Gordon University, Aberdeeen 3-11
Back in the final after losing narrowly in 2012, LYIT met the UK champions Robert Gordon University (RGU) a totally unknown quantity. However it quickly became apparent that RGU were a strong outfit packed full of Kilkenny, Cork, Laois, Dublin Armagh and Sligo hurlers.
The opening minutes were a tense affair as both sides wasted scoring chances. However ten minutes in RGU broke through with a goal. LYIT slowly got to the pace of the game and rattled off three points from Conor Canty (Mayo) and Hugh Devine (Dublin).
The rest of the half was extremely close with the sides never more than a point apart and the half time score was LyIT 0-8 to RGU 1-3.
LyIT started brightly and took the lead early in the second half with an excellent point from Niall Skehill (Galway) fully 60 metres out and on the run. However RGU equalised and then scored a goal from a ball that wasn’t cleared by the defence. LYIT then threw everything they had at RGU with Niall Skehill Having a close in shot saved by the excellent RGU Keeper Frank Ryan (Kilkenny).
For Letterkenny Hugh Devine scored some great points from play including a great catch and strike in a crowded box which whistled over the crossbar. Then Conor Carty was tripped as he broke through the defence on goal and he basted the resultant free into the roof of the net. Immediately RGU sent in a high ball into the Letterkenny square and although a defender seemed to be fouled as he came out with the ball RGU pounced to score a third goal.
Ten minutes to go and RGU came close to a fourth goal. However LYIT rallied and points from Canty, Colm Parke (Sligo) and Ryan Duffy (Donegal) levelled the game on the 60th minute. Then heartbreak as LYIT attacked one last time the ball came loose and RGU pounced and raced down the pitch to score the winning point in the 62nd minute to win and break Letterkenny Hearts again.
Commiserations to the letterkenny lads that included seven survivors from the 2012 final and two players Ryan Mangan midfield (Galway) and Conor Parke fullback (Donegal) who were on the LYIT Gaelic football team that lost out in the Trench cup final last week.
LyIT: Conor Gallen (Setanta), Eoin Friel, Conor Parke (St Eunans), Sean Carthy (Meath), John Manley (Wicklow), Stephen Gillespie (Burt) ,Kieran O’Leary (McCumhaills), Ryan Mangan (Galway), Marc O’Regan (Carlow), Niall Skehill Captain (Galway), Hugh Devine (Dublin), Conor Canty (Mayo), Colm Parke (Sligo), Aaron Leahy (Clare), Jayson Fox (Westmeath), Gearoid Leahy (Tipperary), Ryan Duffy (Setanta) 30 mins, Dale Byrne (Monaghan) 45 mins, Adrian McLoughlin (Longford), Andrew Gallalagher 42mins, (MacCumhaills), Noel Gorman (St Eunans), Diabhaidh Grant, Patrick Doherty (Burt), Colm Hegarty, (Donegal), Sean Ronayne (Mayo).
Manager Paddy Lennon. Coaches Lee Scanlon, Derek Kelly, Caoimhin O’Lionnain. Physio Cathair McLoughlin.
RGU: Frank Ryan (Captain), Ambrose McCormack, John Fagan, Edmund Walsh, Aiden Delaney, Nathan Unwin, Gavin Daly, Eamonn O’Reilly, Fintan Corvin, Domnic Mulligan, Alan Quill, Gary Murphy, Graham Black, Gary O’Callaghan, Conor Mahon, Galvin Horan, Bryan Jacob, Greg McEnri, Thomas Corcoran, Eamon Campion, Conor Weir, Niall Murphy.