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Dublin: 9 °C Friday 28 November, 2014

Preview: Little to choose between the Fitzgibbon Cup’s final four

Four will become two at the Mardyke this afternoon where there’s a double-header of Fitzgibbon Cup goodness. Here’s what to expect.

Cork Institute of Technology v Limerick IT (1.30pm)

(Above: Cork IT’s Tommy Quaid, right, goes to ground to challenge Sean McCormack of NUIG)

FOR THE SECOND consecutive season, the Fitzgibbon Cup comes down to a straight shootout between Cork’s big two, UCC and Cork IT, and Limerick hurling giants UL and Limerick IT.

LIT’s hopes of making amends for defeat in last year’s decider suffered a blow when star forward Joe Canning dislocated his shoulder in the quarter-finals, and they go into this afternoon’s semi-final as slight underdogs.

But with Clare supremo Davy Fitzgerald at the helm, it certainly won’t be a lack of effort or motivation that is LIT’s undoing.

Cork IT stuck 4-11 on a decent NUI Galway side in windy conditions last week. Over half of their scores that day came from in-form corner-forward Tommy Quaid who chipped in 2-6, including a penalty which he blazed over the bar.

CIT aren’t quite a one-man team but if Limerick’s full-back line can keep Quaid quiet, this game’s fine balance could easily tip in their favour.

Betting: Cork IT 4/6, Limerick IT 11/8, Draw 9/1

University College Cork v University of Limerick (3.3opm)

(Above: UL’s Brendan Bolger, right, in action against Carlow IT in the quarter-finals)

Defending champions University of Limerick will have to be at their best if they are to retain their higher education crown and bring Fitzgibbon Cup number five back to the campus.

They’re up against UCC in the afternoon’s second semi-final, a university which has won the Fitzgibbon a whopping 40 times and will also have the benefit of home advantage in the Mardyke today.

There’s no shortage of star names on show. UCC will look towards Shane Bourke to reproduce the sparkling display which helped his side past UCD in the quarter-finals, while Tipp’s All-Star full-back Pádraic Maher is the cornerstone of the UL defence.

The bookies give UCC the slight edge, both in the tie and in the tournament as a whole, but expect another close and consuming affair.

Betting: UCC 5/6, UL 6/5, Draw 8/1

The 2012 Fitzgibbon Cup final takes place tomorrow at 3pm.

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