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Contentious Cian Lynch Red Card Helps UL Snatch Fitzgibbon Cup Title Against NUIG

Contentious Cian Lynch Red Card Helps UL Snatch Fitzgibbon Cup Title Against NUIG
By Eoin Harrington Updated

NUIG looked set to complete a famous double on Saturday afternoon, as they took a decisive lead in the closing stages of the Fitzgibbon Cup final against UL. However, a red card for last year's hurler of the year Cian Lynch completely swung the momentum of the game, and UL snatched victory from the jaws of defeat with a last-minute goal from Mikey Kiely.

The Galway college went in at half-time five points up, and weathered a second-half fightback from UL to once again lead by five points in the closing stages.

Controversial Cian Lynch red card  

It had been 12 years since NUIG claimed a Fitzgibbon Cup title as they made the journey down to IT Carlow to face 2018 champions UL in this year's decider.

Two brilliant first half goals had NUIG in the ascendancy by a comfortable five points at half-time, and they looked set to cruise to victory

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The presence of last year's player of the year Cian Lynch was a huge factor for NUIG's attacking play - but he would have his greatest impact on the game in unwanted fashion when he was sent off in the final ten minutes.

The man advantage gave UL a second-wind, and would lead to an extraordinary eight-point turnaround in just five minutes.

The Limerick men fought back from five points down to level up the play with a superb point early in injury-time, before the dramatic winner.

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Mikey Kiely was the hero of UL's semi-final victory with his hail Mary goal against IT Carlow earlier this week, and he was once again the hero on Saturday afternoon. Under intense pressure from two NUIG backs, he managed to keep the sliotar in hand and, stumbling, found the back of the net in the final minute of injury time to win the day for UL.

You couldn't have scripted the ending, and NUIG will be left wondering how on Earth they leave Carlow without the Fitzgibbon Cup. For UL, there was an element of vengeance to the game, as their footballers were beaten by NUIG in the Sigerson Cup final on Wednesday night.

Many punters were left unhappy by the decision to send off Lynch. The decisive moment in the game not only took out NUIG's best player, but left them a man light in the closing stages of the final, and plenty of fans saw the decision as unjust.

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After last week's dramatic club final wins for Ballygunner and Kilcoo, the Fitzgibbon Cup final was just another example of the extraordinary drama on offer in the GAA.

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