IT CARLOW completed a remarkable triple, winning the IRFU/CUSAI Division 1, Division 2 and Division 3 colleges rugby cups following the college rugby finals in Mardyke, UCC recently. It is the second year in a row that IT Carlow qualified for all 3 finals and completed the first ever clean sweep at this level.
Rugby at IT Carlow has seen a turnaround in the last 4 years, since the introduction of their BA Sport & Exercise Rugby course. The course, in association with Leinster RUGBY/IRFU, offers students a chance to train full time incorporating a degree in Business/communications.
IT Carlow 1st xv beat a strong Athlone IT side (23-20) in the Division 1 match, in what was a great advert for the colleges game in Ireland. IT Carlow got off to the ideal start with a try from former Irish Schools winger Jurgan Quinlan in the games opening attack with a well taken try. Athlone IT struggled with the pace of IT Carlow and 10 minutes later, Karl Miller added to the score after some great continuity work from Martin O'neill. Bryan Croke added the extras to put IT Carlow 12-0 up.
Athlone IT came storming back into the game with former Connacht Senior players Adam Kennedy and John O'brien pulling the strings. Kennedy's distribution was outstanding and O'brien made some telling breaks with the IT Carlow defence stretched at times. Kennedy added a penalty to make it 12-3. IT Carlow were reduced to 14 but went on the attack and penalties apiece from Croke and Kennedy left the scores 15-6 at half time.
IT Carlow started strongly in the second half but the turning point in the match came 10 minutes into the half when another John O'brien break resulted in what looked like a try, but was adjudged to have been held up. O'brien was injured in the incident and unfortunately Athlone lost their main strike threat for the remainder of the match. IT Carlow went on the attack again and Alan Kenny scored an amazing try from a quickly taken lineout, with some excellent skills from the IT Carlow backs.
However Athlone IT were not to be out done and stormed back with 2 converted tries of their own, to make it 23-20. The sin binning of Croke in the final towards the close of the game made for a nervous final few minutes for IT Carlow. However IT Carlow held on to record a fine win and made it 2 in a row of IRFU/CUSAI division 1 titles.
Earlier in the day IT Carlow 2nd XV beat a very competitive Tallaght IT team - 20-8. IT Carlow had a red card and were reduced to 14 men after 20 minutes and were made work for their victory. The game was played at great pace and was end to end with IT Carlow taking their chances with tries from Callum Southgate, Matt Dempsey and Ariel Robles. Tallaght IT'S try came from Greystone's Dylan Fossett, who carried well all game and was a handful for the Carlow defence.
In the Division 3 final, National College of Ireland went into an early 7-0 lead with an 80m-intercept effort from scrumhalf Evan Lett. IT Carlow 3rd xv recovered from the shaky start to secure their first title of the day, with 2 tries from their captain Corey Carthy and one from Neil Waters.
It has been a very successful year for IT Carlow rugby, winning the JP Flannagan Pennant (c), in IT Carlow 21's first season. The season hasn't stopped yet with IT Carlow 21s in the semi final of the Purcell Cup v Naas RFC and IT Carlow Fresher's have to play the IRFU/CUSAI O'boyle cup final v NUI Maynooth, on the 4th April. Also IT Carlow 7s team will be looking to retain their college title from last year.
Applications for any of the sports programs in IT Carlow can be made through the CAO. Or www.itcarlow.ie.