IT Carlow strike late to down DCU in Fitzgibbon League quarter-final

Patrick Curran pointed eight frees despite the inclement weather at St. Clare's. Credit: Andrew Byrne

Dublin City University 1-16

Institute of Technology Carlow 2-14

Fitzgibbon League quarter-final

Two last minute IT Carlow points from play were enough to defeat DCU in an enthralling Fitzgibbon League quarter-final in St. Clare’s last Wednesday, November 9th.

This was a tense, tight and high-paced affair in which both sides showed that they will not be far away when the Fitzgibbon Cup reaches its closing stages in February.

Strong winds and heavy rain pervaded throughout but that did not stop either side from showcasing their skill and determination in an extremely physical contest.

This physicality was at times overstated and came to a head with a late red card for the away side’s corner forward Conor Nolan.

In truth neither side deserved to lose this evenly matched encounter but it was the extra knowhow which carried the Carlow side over the line.

DJ Carey’s charges are now targeting a third successive Fitzgibbon League win and they were not willing to relinquish their title easily. Carey hailed his side’s “spirit, determination and sheer will to win” and will see no reason for this league form not to translate to championship glory when the Fitzgibbon weekend rolls around.

As for Nick Weir’s DCU outfit, they will be relatively pleased at a positive league campaign in which they defeated the University of Ulster Jordanstown, St Pat’s and drew with UCD. The manner of this loss will hurt but these wounds will soon heal and judging on this performance they should not be underestimated by any college they meet in the Fitzgibbon Cup.

Scores were hard to come by in the opening stages with the heavy underfoot conditions undoubtedly playing their part.

DCU soon settled with a brilliant over-the-shoulder strike from Killian Doyle and this was followed by a Patrick Curran free. Carlow responded emphatically however reeling off five unanswered points with Jack Fagan, Charles Dwyer and Diarmuid Healy prominent.

Carlow were coping a lot better with the conditions in the early stages of the game with their hungry and sharp defenders setting the tone. This dominance led to a breakthrough in the 15th minute when midfield powerhouse Healy caught a dropping ball and played in Jack Fagan who left ‘keeper Robbie Gillen with no chance.

DCU’s leaders stood up with Paudie Foley and Paul O’Dea quelling Carlow attacks and Joe O’Connor picking up some valuable loose ball. This dominance translated to the scoreboard with Curran (2), Kelly and Doyle pointing before a wonderful solo effort from the speedy corner forward Rían McBride.

A long range goal form Carlow full forward ‘Picky’ Maher put a halt to this DCU momentum however and this was followed by a free from Fagan.

DCU again stormed back into the game with a well-taken Killian Doyle goal after great work from Kilkenny man Jason Byrne on the wing. This left three points between the sides at the break.

DCU continued from where they left off after the resumption of play with Patrick Curran and Killian Doyle scoring fine points from play before two more Curran frees. DCU were now up by two with the score 2-8 to 1-13.

Charles Dwyer was becoming increasingly effective for the away side and won a penalty which was pointed by Fagan. A ‘Picky’ Maher free followed before McBride and Maher again traded points.

As the game entered the final five minutes, the lively sub Andrew Jamison Murphy pointed well before a Curran free put DCU two up with three minutes to go. That was when the Carlow giants awoke with three unanswered points leaving DCU shell-shocked.

DCU: R. Gillen; A. Murphy, C. Delaney, P. O’Dea; T. French, P. Foley, S. McCaw; L. Fahey, J. O Connor; E. McHugh, P. Kelly, J. Byrne; R. McBride, P. Curran, K. Doyle.
Subs: E. Conroy for McHugh (27’) P. Hogan for McCaw (HT) A.J. Murphy for P. Kelly (47’)
Scorers for DCU: P. Curran 0-9 (8f), K. Doyle 1-3, R. Mcbride 0-2, P. Kelly 0-1, A.J. Murphy 0-1.

IT Carlow: E. Rowland; K. Hannafin, T. Gallagher, D. Palmer; R. Nolan, M. Harney, D. O’Hanlon; D. Healy, T. Nolan; C. Dwyer, M. Russell, M. Redmond; C. Nolan, P. Maher, J. Fagan.
Subs: W. Young, J. Fitzgerald.
Scorers for I.T Carlow: J. Fagan, 1-8 (0-5f, 0-1 pen), P. Maher 1-4 (0-2f), C. Dwyer 0-2, D. Healy 0-1, W. Young 0-1

Niall McIntyre
Image Credit: Andrew Byrne

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