WATCH - Chris Bolger with a sublime finish as IT Carlow stun UL to make Fitzgibbon Cup semis
DJ Carey said that reaching the Fitzgibbon Cup finals weekend is the result of over three years of hard work in IT Carlow.
The former Kilkenny star, with current Cats selector Mick Dempsey also on the management team, masterminded a shock win over last year’s runners-up UL to set up a semi-final meeting with UCC next week in Galway.
“We set out three years ago to try make the Fitzgibbon weekend because it never happened before in Carlow,” said Carey. “We are very fortunate that this bunch of players, most of them, have been around for the past three years.
“We have used the league to try get a good seeding, get a few home matches, to try to get to this stage and we won the league three times, which is a great achievement for us but the big one was to get to the Fitzgibbon weekend.”
IT Carlow led by 3-7 to 0-12 at the break and with their defence superb – goalkeeper Enda Rowland and full-back Kevin Hannafin from Kerry were outstanding – UL struggled to find a way through.
The three goals came in the opening ten minutes as Martin Kavanagh, Mark Russell – son of Tipperary referee Paddy – and Jack Fagan blasted to the net as Carlow went for the jugular. “The goals in the first half were crucial, we spoke about it during the week that we needed goals. Even if we weren’t scoring them we needed to put doubt in the opposition,” said Carey.
UL, who trailed by 3-7 to 0-12 at the interval, got back in contention thanks to the efforts of Tony Kelly and John McGrath in the second half but couldn’t get a goal.
Carlow sealed a famous win when Chris Bolger blasted home their fourth goal late on, with Carey warning they weren’t going to settle for just reaching the last four.
“We know we will be underdogs, the big teams are there as well but we won’t be going to the weekend to make up numbers. We will be going to try and win it.”
scorers – IT Carlow: S Maher 0-6 (4f, 1 ’65), J Fagan 1-2, M Kavanagh 1-2, M Russell 1-1, C Bolger 1-1, C Dwyer 0-2, J Doyle, C Dunford 0-1 each. UL: J McGrath 0-8 (6f, 1 ’65), T Kelly 0-4, D Fitzgerald 0-3; G Hegarty, A McGuane, D Gleeson 0-2 each; M Mullins, Jason Forde (f) 0-1 each.
IT Carlow – E Rowland; D Palmer, K Hannafin, R Browne; J Doyle, D Healy, D O’Hanlon; K Kelly, C Dunford; C Dwyer, S Maher, M Kavanagh; J Fagan, M Russell, C Bolger. Sub: T Nolan for Kelly (46).
UL – P Maher; M Casey, B Troy, L O’Connor; B Heffernan, J Forde, D Fitzgerald; A McGuane, K Hehir; T Morrissey, T Kelly, G Hegarty; D Gleeson, M Mullins, J McGrath. Subs: B Duggan for Troy (h-t), B Nash for Gleeson (55).
ref – D Kirwan (Cork)