Either DIT or DCU will play in the Fitzgibbon Cup Final for the first time this year

Westmeath forward Niall O'Brien was DIT's scorer-in-chief as they finished strongly to overcome UCD by 0-19 to 0-17 at Belfield to advance to hurling's Fitzgibbon Cup semi-finals for the first time in their history.  

He finished with an individual tally of 11-points - nine from frees and one 65m - as they came back from 0-11 to 0-8 down at half-time to win by two-points. 

 

"Look, we just didn't panic. We were a few points down at half-time and maybe it was a bit easier to play against the breeze in the second-half, the ball held up...we just kinda ground out a result to be honest with ya.

"Fair play to the lads, especially the backs, I think Liam Blanchfield went back and was very strong there and Derek (McNicholas) and we got a few vital scores at the right time. Conor Ryan putting over that the sideline at the end was worth three points to us.

"We just keep working no matter what, hooks and blocks. It's the old cliches, just work-rate. If you work harder than your man then you get the rub of the green. We have good enough hurlers to compete with anyone. We just work hard, it's a mental thing, we go out there and say work as you can for the next lad beside ya and it just paid off in the end.

  

 DIT panel after the game / ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

 

O'Brien was joined by his Westmeath team-mates Tommy Doyle, Robbie Greville, Derek McNicholas and Niall Mitchell on the DIT side and the Castletown Geoghegan clubman feels they've shown they can hold their own against players from more established counties.

"Tommy Doyle would be rated as one of the best full-backs in the country and there's top players in Westmeath. Derek McNicholas and Niall Mitchell don't look one bit out of place out there and they're probably leading this team. 

"It is very enjoyable playing these games because you are playing with some of the top lads from different counties, the likes of Bonnar Maher there and the Dublin lads. 

DCU and DIT will meet in an all Dublin semi-final next Tuesday with DJ Carey's IT Carlow facing off against competition favourites UL in the other semi.