DCU’s CUFL Premier Division campaign came to an end on Wednesday against a superior IT Carlow side in a repeat of last year’s semi-final on a wet afternoon in Leixlip.
A powerful Noel Haverty header as well as a long range strike from Dean Broaders gave Carlow a deserved 2-0 victory.
DCU came into the game on the back of a quarter-final victory over UCC before the Christmas break and having lost just two games so far this year.
Looking to reach the league final for the second consecutive year the Dublin side started the game well, enjoying the lion’s share of possession.
However it was Carlow who manufactured the first chance of the game. Good footwork from Andy Mulligan on the right wing allowed him the flash a dangerous ball across the six yard box that was narrowly missed by the incoming Dean Broaders.
Carlow were beginning to get on top of the game and had DCU under the cosh as the rain beat down ever harder. A flurry of excellently crossed corners from Mulligan kept Ben Dale on his toes in the DCU goal.
The Institute of Technology perhaps should have broken the deadlock after 18 minutes when Broaders was played through on goal but a strong save from the onrushing Dale ensured the game remained scoreless. The follow up shot from Shane Dunne crashed off the post before the danger was cleared.
Halfway through the first period Carlow managed the take the lead when Noel Haverty rose above the DCU defence to head past Dale after another excellent corner from Mulligan.
As the conditions became more difficult the game was increasingly focussed on the midfield area as DCU found it difficult to feed front man Daniel Mahon.
Five minutes before half-time Carlow doubled their lead when Broaders’ well struck shot flew across Dale and nestled in the bottom corner of the net.
The two sides were glad to get into the dressing rooms at half-time in order to take some shelter from the latest downpour that continued to soak the all-weather playing surface.
A response was required from DCU if they were to stop Carlow reaching their third league final in four years and the team came out with that mentality clearly on show.
The Glasnevin side were certainly ahead in the possession stats at the beginning of the half but still could not manage to muster more than a few fluffed shots that flew harmlessly wide.
No real danger came the way of Carlow goalkeeper Seamus Haughton until the 80th minute when Darren Craven’s long range effort was stopped by a strong hand. Loud appeals from the DCU players for a penalty, after it looked as if the ball may have been handled as Carlow cleared, were waved away by referee Paul Tuite.
Defensively Carlow were very good in the second half managing to keep out the DCU attack and ensure that they will take on UCD in the final on 18th February.
However DCU’s strong league campaign will give the players confidence as they look forward to the Collingwood Cup later this month.
IT Carlow: S Houghton; N Haverty, R Kenny, S Last, M Kelly (J Dermody 77); E Molloy, S Dunne, A Humphries, S Dunne,A Mulligan (T Croke 80); S Skelly, D Broaders.
Subs not used: J Savage, G Bell, R Hughes, M Keely, C O’Brien.
DCU: B Dale; P Kavanagh, T Lahiffe, R Gaul, J Memery; M Cogley (C Callinan 66), S Madigan, D Craven, D Cregan (J Mooney 59), M Isichei; D Mahon.
Subs not used: C Ralph, D Aherne, A Byrne, P Smithers, D Hyland.
Referee: Paul Tuite (Dublin).