Limerick and Clare's finest a deadly duo for Electric Ireland Fitzgibbon feast
Brought to you by Electric Ireland
And then there were eight.
After a frantic group stage that saw the reigning champions lose three out of three games, the Electric Ireland Fitzgibbon Cup bounds onto the quarter-final stages. Each of the eight teams left are there on merit and will be backing themselves to go all the way.
All four of the quarter finals throw-in across a jam packed Fitzgibbon feast of a Thursday, kicking off in the afternoon with LIT hosting NUI Galway in a Shannonside cracker and wrapping up in Glasnevin with the north Dublin derby between local rivals DCU and DIT.
In between those two clinkers are two more mouthwatering clashes that feature some of the best hurlers in Ireland right now. Favourites UCC host 2017 runners-up IT Carlow in the Mardyke with Mark Coleman, Richie Leahy and Shane Conway in action but it gets even better in Limerick.
Electric Ireland will be live streaming the showdown between Jamie Wall's 2016 and 2017 champions Mary I and Cork IT at 2.30 pm on Thursday afternoon (coverage from 2.15 pm).
You can watch that game here when the time comes but to whet the appetite even more, we've nailed down some of the key players on show.
Aaron Gillane (Limerick) and Colin Guilfoyle (Clare) - Mary I
These days, Aaron Gillane is widely appreciated as one of the most threatening forwards around. Prior to Mary I's 2017 Fitzgibbon Cup campaign, however, the Patrickswell man was relatively unknown.
He scorched a trail of glory through the competition that year, racking up almighty totals en route to Mary I's famous victory and that got him going.
"He threw the shackles off that year and he absolutely went to town for us in the Fitzgibbon Cup all the way up to the final where he scored 1-5," recalls Jamie Wall.
The Limerick man is in his final year in Mary I now, the Cork man is still the barnstorming bainisteoir and in their bid to bring glory back to the teacher training college, they'll be joined by another precarious talent in Clare's Colin Guilfoyle.
The Limerick/Clare rivalry is as fierce as they come, but will be suspended (for now) for Mary I.
Enda Heffernan (Tipperary) and Conor Prunty (Waterford) - Cork IT
Cork IT will go into this one as underdogs but they're a gritty hard-working team and they'll give Mary I lots of it. Their strongest line is undoubtedly the half back line with Tipperary Enda Heffernan in the centre and Waterford's Conor Prunty on the wing.
Heffernan won a county title with Clonoulty Rossmore last year and an All-Ireland under-21 with Tipperary and he comes into this Electric Ireland Fitzgibbon Cup campaign in the form of his life.
Prunty, meanwhile is breaking onto the Waterford seniors and though they're rivals in the Munster Championship, they'll be wearing the red and white hoops of Cork IT this week.
Luke Meade (Cork) and Tom Monaghan (Galway) - Mary I
Meade and Monaghan know each other inside out by this stage, having won a Fitzgibbon Cup side by side in 2017 and the Cork and Galway talents are well used to putting their county rivalries to one side at this stage.
They dovetail well in attack, the Newcestown man a provider and the Craughwell man more of a finisher. Keeping one quiet will be a fair task for CIT, keeping both will be next to impossible.
Fitzgibbon Cup 2019 Quarter Finals
UCC v IT
LIT v NUIG
DCU v DIT
Mary I v CIT
Electric Ireland is proud to support the Electric Ireland Fitzgibbon Cup. As part of its sponsorship, Electric Ireland will live stream eight key Fitzgibbon and Sigerson Cup games at www.electricireland.ie/hec and www.GAA.ie/GAANow, bringing fans closer to the action than ever before. Follow the Championship and be a part of the conversation on social using the hashtag, #FirstClassRivals or visit @ElectricIreland on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
Electric Ireland’s Sigerson, Fitzgibbon and Higher Education Championship campaign, #FirstClassRivals, showcases the unique trait of these historic GAA competitions that sees team composition, unlike in club and county Championships, determined by place of learning not place of birth allowing traditional rivals to form the most unexpected of alliances.
Brought to you by Electric Ireland