Home Sport GAA Heartbreak for IT Carlow as UCC strike late to claim 40th Fitzgibbon...

Heartbreak for IT Carlow as UCC strike late to claim 40th Fitzgibbon Cup title

IT Carlow 2-11 UCC 0-18
Electric Ireland Fitzgibbon Cup Final 

IT Carlow’s quest to win a first ever Fitzgibbon Cup title ended in disappointment in DCU this evening as UCC struck very late to claim their 40th title.

DJ Carey side, who contain six Laois players, led by five points with ten minutes to play but, despite a numerical advantage, they could not withstand a strong finish by the Munster side.

Abbeyleix’s Enda Rowland, Ballinakill’s Sean Downey, The Harps’ Podge Delaney and Clough-Ballacolla’s Stephen Bergin all started with Camross’ Eoin Gaughan and Castletown’s Shane Phelan also on the panel.

First half goal from Liam Blanchfield and Seamus Casey put IT Carlow in the driving seat but defending champions UCC finished with seven of the final eight points to claim victory.

UCC got the game’s first score but straight from the resulting Enda Rowland puck-out, Seamus Casey raced through to rattle the net.

IT Carlow sparkled into life after that and following some great work by Laois’s Podge Delaney, Kilkenny’s Liam Blanchfield crashed in for a second goal.

UCC responded through Shane Kingston but Seamus Casey hit straight back to leave IT Carlow 2-2 to 0-2 ahead after 13 minutes.

Jeremy Kelly got another for IT Carlow but UCC got four points in a row with Kerry star Shane Conway to the fore as they narrowed the gap to three points.

However, Laois captain Enda Rowland landed a long range free to leave IT Carlow 2-5 to 0-7 ahead at half time.

Clough-Ballacolla’s Stephen Bergin extended IT Carlow’s lead on the resumption of play before Chris Nolan and Seamus Casey extended it to six after 37 minutes.

Shane Conway replied wit two for UCC but they still trailed 2-8 to 0-10 with twenty minutes to play.

Casey hit back with a free and although UCC responded with a brace, a Chris Nolan score left IT Carlow 2-10 to 0-11 ahead with a quarter of the game to play.

UCC got the next two scores to reduce the gap to three but they would have to play the final ten minutes with 14 men after their wing back was sent off for striking.

Nevertheless, Shane Kingston and Shane Conway both pointed before the latter added another free to level the game at 0-16 to 2-10 with 57 minutes on the clock.

And then with two minutes to go, Darragh Fitzgibbon made it six points in a row for UCC to give them the lead for the first time.

Carlow’s Chris Nolan had the chance to level the game but his shot from the 45 went wide as we entered injury time and Conway put UCC two ahead with a free.

Enda Rowland narrowed the gap to one with a free and IT Carlow had a last chance to force extra time but Jeremy Kelly’s 65 went wide and UCC claimed a 40th Fitzgibbon Cup title.

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