Shane Bennett was the star as LIT overcame rivals UL in the first round of the Fresher 1 hurling league in the University of Limerick yesterday.
The Waterford senior produced an outstanding display from centre forward, chipping in with a final tally of 1-09.
Last year’s league finalists staged a first half comeback but the result was never in doubt after the visitors scored two goals in two minutes at the start of the second half.
The LIT midfield pairing of Ben O’Gorman and Ciaran Cooney were instrumental to their side’s performance. They proved too strong for their UL counterparts, helping LIT storm into a 0-08 to 0-02 lead within the first 15 minutes.
Bennett punished UL for their lack of discipline when he buried a penalty to leave a nine point gap between the sides.
This sparked UL into life however and they responded with a goal of their own. Liam McCutcheon took advantage when a UL free caused havoc in the square.
It wasn’t long before LIT widened the gap again. Enda Moloney’s net was rattled once more, this time James O’Riordan took the spoils.
As the half wore on, UL began to retain possession. Paul Maher and Barry Nash dragged their team back into contention, the latter burying a fine goal just before half-time to leave just four between the teams.
However the result was never in doubt after an LIT siege saw them score 2-02 without reply. The UL defence struggled to cope with Bennett throughout and he duly cut through them with a solo run before passing off to James Wood, who flew the ball past Enda Moloney for the goal of the game.
UL substitution Jack Delaney made an impact for the home side and was rewarded when he added his name to the scoresheet with a fine point. Yet Cooney and Bennett kept the scoreboard ticking over for LIT, never allowing UL to cut the deficit despite the best efforts of their half forward line. Ronan Teehan, in particular, stood out.
The LIT full-back line produced a stellar display in the final 10 minutes as UL came at them again and again, looking for scores to get them back in the game. UL were awarded two frees, both of which were saved. Paul Maher did eventually grab the sought after goal but it proved to be a mere consolation score as it was the last action of the game. LIT will be delighted, beating their neighbours by seven points.