Friday 15 December 2017

Fitzgibbon Cup final proves "a bridge too far" but DJ Carey proud of IT Carlow

Michael Verney

After an epic extra-time win against UCC yesterday it was a “bridge too far” for DJ Carey’s IT Carlow in today’s Fitzgibbon Cup final against Mary I but the Kilkenny legend beamed with pride for his rookie side.

Playing against a stiff breeze in their first Fitzgibbon Cup final the exertions of the previous day took their toll as Mary I, led by All-Star centre-back Ronan Maher and Limerick’s Cian Lynch, boasted a 0-16 to 0-8 lead at the break.

While IT Carlow battled hard with Stephen ‘Picky’ Maher taking the game to the reigning champions in the closing half it was too steep a mountain to climb as a classy Mary I side ran out 3-24 to 1-19 winners but Carey was full of praise for his side's gallant efforts.

“We’ve had a great time with these lads for a good few years now. Sport is about enjoyment, we were beaten today but we gave it our very best and we’ve had a great run along the way," the nine-time All-Star said.

"We came off the field after giving it our very best and you can’t ask for more than that, it just wasn’t to be. Mary I started brilliantly and they hurled fantastic, wherever they shot from today it went over, they were outstanding.

"A lot of the Mary I lads, their big players like Cian Lynch and Ronan Maher all stepped up and were magnificent. We’ve no excuses, it was just a bridge too far today.”

With a host of Laois players including Maher, Charles Dwyer and Enda Rowland, as well as Kerry Kevin Hannafin and Meath’s Damian Healy, IT Carlow had a strong representation from traditionally weaker counties and Carey was delighted with their contributions as they look to go one better next year.

“Well they certainly weren’t too weak out there today and there’s excellent hurlers all over the country that may not be able to come together at the highest level with their own team but they are brilliant players."

Carey added: “Finals are for winning and hurling is for getting to finals and winning, not everyone can do it but that’s what we all strive to do. When we eventually regroup hopefully that’ll be on everyone’s minds.”

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