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Dunford goal puts IT Carlow in to first Fitzgibbon Cup final with dramatic win over UCC

DJ Carey’s men needed extra-time to seal the victory.

Image: Mike Shaughnessy/INPHO

IT Carlow 2-20
UCC 1-20

(After extra-time)

Fintan O’Toole reports from Dangan

A BRILLIANT GOAL in extra-time by Waterford senior Colin Dunford proved the crucial score in propelling DJ Carey’s IT Carlow team into their first ever Fitzgibbon Cup final after today’s semi-final success over UCC.

A thrilling match saw IT Carlow on the brink of victory in normal time after Kilkenny’s Kevin Kelly found the net in the 56th minute and the superb point striking of Laois forward Stephen Maher put them ahead by 1-15 to 0-13.

But UCC staged a superb comeback as Kilkenny’s John Power, an All-Ireland club winner with Carrickshock last weekend, whipped home a goal and Tipperary’s Michael Breen popped up with two inspirational points to draw them level.

Maher missed a chance to win the game for IT Carlow from a ’65 but made amends in extra-time as his points were key in pushing the winners clear 1-18 to 1-17 by the midway mark of the additional period.

Then Dunford raced forward to billow the back of the UCC net in the 72nd minute and despite UCC’s best efforts, they could not haul IT Carlow back with goalkeeper Enda Rowland producing a couple of superb saves.

Posted by on Sunday, 25 February 2018

Stephen Maher with Jamie Barron and Conor Gleeson IT Carlow's Stephen Maher against UCC duo Jamie Barron and Conor Gleeson. Source: Mike Shaughnessy/INPHO

Maher finished with 0-11 to his credit for IT Carlow while apart from the goalscorers Kelly and Dunford, there were also vital scoring contributions from Kilkenny’s Chris Bolger (0-4) and Carlow’s Martin Kavanagh (0-2).

UCC’s top scorer was Rob O’Shea who bagged 0-7 – five from frees – while Breen was outstanding as he weighed in with 0-5 from play. Waterford duo Jamie Barron and Tom Devine also impressed for the 2013 champions.

DJ Carey and Michael Dempsey celebrate winning DJ Carey and Michael Dempsey celebrate IT Carlow's victory. Source: Mike Shaughnessy/INPHO

IT Carlow were ahead 0-10 to 0-8 at the interval and they had stretched their advantage to 0-13 to 0-9 early in the second half, thanks to the accuracy of Bolger and Maher.

But UCC slowly reeled them in with four unanswered points courtesy of O’Shea (3) and Barron, to leave the teams deadlocked with ten minutes left. In a dramatic finale IT Carlow hit 1-2 to be on the cusp of victory before UCC’s revival ensured extra-time was necessary. And in that time frame, it was Dunford who pounced for the key strike.

Scorers for IT Carlow: Stephen Maher 0-11 (0-6f,  0-2 ’65), Chris Bolger 0-4, Kevin Kelly 1-1, Colin Dunford 1-0, Martin Kavanagh 0-2, Jack Fagan, Enda Rowland (0-1f) 0-1 each.

Scorers for UCC: Rob O’Shea 0-7 (0-5f), Michael Breen 0-5, John Power 1-1, Anthony Spillane, Jamie Barron 0-2 each, Alan Cadogan, Mark O’Connor, Tom Devine 0-1 each.

IT Carlow

1. Enda Rowland (Abbeyleix, Laois)

2. Dwayne Palmer (Camross, Laois)
3. Kevin Hannafin (St Brendan’s, Kerry)
4. Ross Browne (Colligan, Waterford)

8. James Doyle (St Mullin’s, Carlow)
6. Damian Healy (Longwood, Meath)
7. Dale O’Hanlon (Carrick Swans, Tipperary)

29. Kevin Kelly (St Patrick’s, Kilkenny)
9. Colin Dunford (Colligan, Waterford)

10. Charles Dwyer (Ballinakill, Laois)
14. Stephen Maher (Clough-Ballacolla, Laois)
12. Martin Kavanagh (St Mullin’s, Carlow)

13. Jack Fagan (De La Salle, Waterford)
11. Mark Russell (Lattin-Cullen, Tipperary)
15. Chris Bolger (Clara, Kilkenny)

Subs

17. Tommy Nolan (Drom-Inch, Tipperary) for Dunford (58)
9. Dunford for Nolan (start of extra-time)
13. Nolan for Fagan (68)
13. Fagan for Kelly (inj) (75)
20. Michael Redmond (Rathnure, Wexford) for Maher (inj) (75)

UCC

1. Jack Barry (Castlelyons, Cork)

4. Shane Roche (Shamrocks, Waterford)
3. Colm Spillane (Castlelyons, Cork)
2. Ian Kenny (Ballygunner, Waterford)

5. Séamus Kennedy (St Mary’s Clonmel, Tipperary)
6. Conor Gleeson (Fourmilewater, Waterford)
7. Rickard Cahalane (Ballymartle, Cork)

8. Jamie Barron (Fourmilewater, Waterford)
9. Michael Breen (Ballina, Tipperary)

28. Gavin O’Brien (Roanmore, Waterford)
11. Tom Devine (Modeligo, Waterford)
10. Mark O’Brien (Ferrybank, Waterford)

13. Alan Cadogan (Douglas, Cork)
15. Rob O’Shea (Carrigaline, Cork)
34. Anthony Spillane (Castlelyons, Cork)

Subs

12. John Power (Carrickshock, Kilkenny) for Gavin O’Brien (half-time)
31. Michael O’Halloran (Blackrock, Cork) for Mark O’Brien (39)
32. Chris O’Leary (Valley Rovers, Cork) for Roche (39)
33. Colm Roche (Shamrocks, Waterford) for Spillane (58)
30. Mark O’Connor (Douglas, Cork) for Cahalane (66)
23. Shane Hegarty (Dungourney, Cork) for Power (78)

Referee: Barry Kelly (Westmeath)

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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