Niall Brassil of IT Carlow is congratulated by IT Carlow manager DJ Carey following the Fitzgibbon Cup Semi-Final match between Mary Immaculate College Limerick and IT Carlow at Dublin City University Sportsgrounds.
Niall Brassil of IT Carlow is congratulated by IT Carlow manager DJ Carey following the Fitzgibbon Cup Semi-Final match between Mary Immaculate College Limerick and IT Carlow at Dublin City University Sportsgrounds. 

Carlow IT through to Electric Ireland Fitzgibbon Cup Final

Electric Ireland Fitzgibbon Cup semi-final


By Daragh Small at the DCU Sportsgrounds

IT Carlow became the first team to reach this year’s Electric Ireland Fitzgibbon Cup final after a comfortable win over Mary Immaculate College at the DCU Sportsgrounds.

Cathal Bourke was immense for Mary I in the first half and he clawed Jamie Wall’s outfit back into the game after Cathal Dunbar struck for an early goal.

Mary I were only one point ahead starting the second half but Stephen Bergin and Liam Blanchfield fired timely goals. Then Dunbar hit the net again before Chris Nolan wrapped it up.

There were difficult conditions in the first half as Storm Ciara picked up pace, and although IT Carlow captain Enda Rowland won the toss, it was a cross-field breeze that didn’t favour either side.

Still IT Carlow made the better start with Seamus Casey scoring a second-minute free and adding another point from play while Jerry Kelly made up for a few earlier misses to pop over a third effort.

Mary I didn’t find their range for the first time until the eighth minute when Shane Ryan scored a brilliant point from play and then Bourke, who hit 0-11 against UL in the quarter-finals, reduced the arrears further.

Richie Leahy and Bourke traded points and the teams were level for the first time after a quarter-of-an-hour when Bourke flashed over a third point.

Gary Cooney gave Mary I their first lead only for Rowland to provide the reply. Bourke and Cooney combined to put Mary I two in front but then came the crucial score of the half.

Following Podge Delaney’s long pass Dunbar found himself in space down the left side of the Mary I defence, and he took his time before unleashing a rifled shot into the top left corner of Jason Gillane’s net in the 23rd minute.

Rowland quickly gave IT Carlow a goal lead but that was whittled down again. Bourke scored four times from the placed ball before half-time and Mary I took a narrow 0-11 to 1-7 lead into the half-time interval.

Casey scored first on the resumption again and the teams were level for the fourth time, and he doubled up on that score from a free.

Bourke landed another massive effort to tie things up and then Tim O’Mahony took control and scored a couple of deserved scores from play. His first, over his right shoulder, was the highlight.

IT Carlow needed a way back into the game and Bergin was introduced in the 42nd minute. Three minutes later he had the ball in the Mary I net.

One minute later Liam Blanchfield had his first attempt blocked but followed up to finish off the third IT Carlow goal.

When Chris Nolan opened his account IT Carlow were 3-11 to 0-14 ahead and in dreamland, with 11 minutes of normal time remaining.

And it got worse for the two-time winners with Dunbar and Nolan adding further goals before the end.

Scorers for IT Carlow: Cathal Dunbar 2-0, Seamus Casey 0-6 (0-4f), Chris Nolan 1-1, Liam Blanchfield 1-0, Stephen Bergin 1-0, Enda Rowland 0-2 (0-2f), Richie Leahy 0-2, Jerry Kelly 0-2, Eoin Gaughan 0-1.

Scorers for Mary Immaculate: Cathal Bourke 0-9 (0-7f, 0-2 65), Tim O’Mahony 0-3 (0-1f), Gary Cooney 0-2, Shane Ryan 0-1.

IT CARLOW: Enda Rowland; Fergal Hayes, Sean Downey, Shane Reck; Podge Delaney, Jason Cleere, Michael Harney; Richie Leahy, Luke Scanlon; Chris Nolan, Jerry Kelly, Cathal Dunbar; Rory Higgins, Liam Blanchfield, Seamus Casey. Subs: Stephen Bergin for Higgins (42), Eoin Gaughan for Blanchfield (55), Dion Wall for Harney (60), Thomas Nolan for Casey (61).

MARY IMMACULATE: Jason Gillane; Ray McCormack, David Prendergast, Eanna McBride; Craig Morgan, Darren Browne, Tim O’Mahony; Diarmaid Ryan, Josh Considine; Eoghan Cahill, Gary Cooney, Shane Ryan; Andrew Ormond, Cathal Bourke, Colin O’Brien. Subs: Adam Ennis for O’Brien (54), Philip Wall for Bourke (55), Michael O’Loughlin for Cahill (59).

Referee: John Keenan (Wicklow).