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Fitzgibbon Cup: UCD hold off gallant IT Carlow


UCD held off an extremely spirited challenge from IT Carlow on a wet, windy Tuesday evening to advance, after extra-time, to the Fitzgibbon Cup finals weekend.

Down to 14 men for the additional period following the 57th minute dismissal of Colin Dunford, IT Carlow looking to be fading when UCD went three clear in extra time.

However, IT Carlow battled back to within one, and even after a Colm Cronin goal for UCD sent them four clear with four minutes to go, IT Carlow never stopped fighting and three points without reply left them gallantly chasing an equaliser until the closing seconds.

In the end though, it never came and UCD went through to finals weekend, where they joined Mary I following their quarter-final win earlier on Tuesday. The two other quarter-finals take place on Wednesday.

UCD were in firm control for most of the first half and with Dublin's Oisin O'Rourke on song from placed balls and Colm Cronin also showing well, the Belfield side led 0-7 to 0-1 after 20 minutes.

IT Carlow played into a strong gale in the first half and that, combined with the wet weather and increasingly soggy pitch, made things extremely difficult for the home side. However, they forced their way back into the game when Meath'sJack Fagan found the net at the end of the first half to leave it 0-8 to 1-1 at the interval.

The revival continued after the break and IT Carlow, now with the wind behind them, reeled off eight of the next 10 points, Enda Rowland and Stephen Maher doing much of the damage, to leave UCD stunned and trailing by 1-9 to 0-10 with just over five minutes left.

However, points from UCD pair Padraic Guinan and James Maher brought them level and just as the game ticked towards full-time with the sides all square and heading for extra-time, IT Carlow were dealt a major blow with the dismissal of Dunford, leaving them facing an uphill battle in the additional period.

There was still time for the sides to trade points, but extra-time was required as it finished 0-13 to 1-10.

UCD quickly blasted their way into a three-point lead in extra-time and led 0-16 to 1-11 at the mini break. IT Carlow, valiant to the bitter end, stayed with UCD and got to within a point of them with five minutes to go in the extra period.

However, Cronin's goal sent UCD four clear and although IT Carlow hit three more points before the end, forcing an extremely tense finish, UCD held them off to advance.

*Scorers for UCD: *O O’Rorke 0-8 (6f, 1 ’65’), C Cronin 1-3, P Guinan 0-2, J Maher 0-2, C O’Shea 0-1 (1f), C Devitt 0-1

*Scorers for IT Carlow: *E Rowland 0-5 (4f, 1 ‘65’), S Maher 0-5 (4f), J Fagan 1-0, C Dwyer 0-2, M Russell 0-2, C Dunford 0-1, K Kelly 0-1

UCD: D Holohan; P Hannon, S Murphy, E Conroy; J Madden, C O’Callaghan, C O’Shea; H Lawlor, S Moran; J Maher, C Devitt, C Cronin; P Guinan, O O’Rorke, J O’Connor. *Subs: *C McGabhann for Moran (52); J Malone for Madden (64); J Phelan for Cronin (inj, 76).

IT Carlow: E Rowland; K Hannafin, W Young, R Brown; D Healy, M Harney, D Palmer; M Russell, K Kelly; C Dwyer, J Doyle, S Maher; C Dunford, J Fagan, C Bolger.* Subs:* T Nolan for Maher (27); S Maher for Nolan (34); T Nolan for Bolger (50); M Kavanagh for Nolan (79).

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