Waterford's Kiely fires late goal from free as UL stun IT Carlow to reach Fitzgibbon Cup final

UL will now meet NUI Galway in Saturday’s final.

UL 1-27

IT Carlow 2-23

A FEW DAYS after Harry Ruddle struck a famous winning goal for Waterford hurling, another Deise player produced a moment of inspiration to snatch an unlikely win tonight.

university-of-limerick-celebrate-winning UL players celebrate after Mikey Kiely's goal. Source: Evan Treacy/INPHO

Mikey Kiely stepped up from a free just outside the 45-yard line and unleashed a dipping shot that flew through a crowd of bodies and into the IT Carlow net. The UL forward rescued his team with their 81st minute strike to propel them into Saturday’s Electric Ireland Fitzgibbon Cup final against NUI Galway.

IT Carlow were on the cusp of success after two Rory Higgins points in the second half of extra-time but they were cruelly denied. Carlow forward Marty Kavanagh’s injury-time goal looked to have earlier secured them the spoils in normal time but UL were indebted to Conor Flaherty, the Galway player who was in goal for the UL footballers in last night’s Sigerson Cup final as he banged over a point from distance to tie the teams and send the game to extra-time.

That additional period began in a tense fashion with the teams tied 2-21 to 0-27 at the midway mark before Higgins made his impact. With IT Carlow defenders Niall Brassil and Jason Cleere on top, they seemed destined for success until Kiely intervened to rescue his team as they were set to exit the competition.

IT Carlow were left heartbroken as their wait for a first title goes on. DJ Carey’s side dug deep at various times during this game with Wexford duo Seamus Casey (1-11), Higgins (0-5) and Carlow’s Chris Nolan (0-4) spearheading their scoring charge. They trailed by five points entering the last quarter but showed the resilience to fight back and were in the driving seat until the finale.

Both teams paraded players from Ballyhale Shamrocks in their starting side, the All-Ireland club finalists providing Darragh Corcoran to UL and Eoin Cody to IT Carlow. But the hosts were without the suspended Jerry Kelly, the Tipperary player a loss to their defensive setup.

killian-sampson UL's Killian Sampson in action against IT Carlow.

UL began the brighter with five points without reply but IT Carlow steadied their challenge with Casey grabbing the opening goal of the game in the 10th minute. They had pushed clear 1-9 to 0-9 by the 23rd minute but UL struck five of the last seven points of the half, Bryan O’Mara’s late free tying the teams at 1-11 to 0-14 at the interval.

UL, coached by Cork hurler Anthony Nash, raced in front early in the second half with five points in a row as Mark Rodgers and Niall Brennan began to sparkle up front. IT Carlow refused to quit and a Casey free was their fourth on the bounce in the 58th minute to draw level at 1-19 to 0-22.

seamus-casey-celebrates-his-goal Seamus Casey celebrates his first-half goal for IT Carlow. Source: Evan Treacy/INPHO

UL’s advantage was restored courtesy of points from Brian O’Grady and Kiely, then we had the high drama of Kavanagh’s goal and Flaherty’s point to level the match at the close of normal time.

There was further sensational action before the night was concluded.

Scorers for UL: Mark Rodgers 0-6 (0-4f, 0-1 ’65), Mikey Kiely 1-3 (1-of), Niall Brennan 0-4, Cian Galvin 0-3, Brian O’Grady 0-3, Gearoid O’Connor 0-3 (0-3f), Conor Flaherty 0-2, Ciaran Connolly 0-1, Bryan O’Mara 0-1 (0-1f)

Scorers for IT Carlow: Seamus Casey 1-11 (0-11f), Rory Higgins 0-5, Chris Nolan 0-4, Marty Kavanagh 1-0, Cathal Dunbar 0-2, Cian Kenny 0-1


1. Eoin Davis (St Catherine’s, Cork)

17. Conor Flaherty (Carnmore, Galway), 3. TJ Brennan (Clarinbridge, Galway), 4. Mike Gough (Smith O’Briens, Clare)

5. Killian Sampson (Shinrone, Offaly), 6. Bryan O’Mara (Holycross-Ballycahill, Clare), 7. Cian Galvin (Clarecastle, Clare)

33. Darragh Corcoran (Ballyhale Shamrocks, Kilkenny), 9. Ciaran Connolly (Loughmore-Castleiney, Tipperary)

10. Niall Brennan (Lisdowney, Kilkenny), 11. Gearoid O’Connor (Moyne-Templetuohy, Tipperary), 12. Brian O’Grady (Kilteely-Dromkeen, Limerick)

13. Billy Power (Clonea, Waterford), Mark Rodgers (Scariff, Clare), 15. Mikey Kiely (Abbeyside-Ballinacourty, Waterford)

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IT Carlow 

1. Adam Howlin (Shelmaliers, Wexford)

2. Fergal Hayes (Kiladangan, Tipperary), 3. Podge Delaney (The Harps, Laois) (captain), 4. Aidan Redmond (Rathnure, Wexford)

5. Niall Brassil (James Stephens, Kilkenny), 18. Shane Reck (Oylegate-Glenbrien, Wexford), 7. Jason Cleere (Bennettsbridge, Kilkenny), 

8. Cian Kenny (James Stephens, Kilkenny), 9. Eoin Gaughan (Camross, Laois), 

10. Thomas Keyes (Camross, Laois), 17. Eoin Cody (Ballyhale Shamrocks, Kilkenny), 12. Cathal Dunbar (Naomh Eanna, Wexford),

13. Rory Higgins (Rathnure, Wexford), 14. Chris Nolan (Mount Leinster Rangers, Carlow),  15. Seamus Casey (Oylegate-Glenbrien, Wexford)


Referee: John Keenan (Wicklow)

Gavan Casey is joined by Bernard Jackman and Murray Kinsella to discuss the prospect of South Africa replacing Italy in the Six Nations and reflect on Ireland’s performance in Paris, before looking ahead to the URC action this weekend.

Source: The42 Rugby Weekly/SoundCloud

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