IT Carlow were crowned Division 1 hurling league Champions for the first time ever after defeating UCC in the independent.ie higher education final.
IT Carlow dominated in all positions with Laois native ‘Picky’ being deadly accurate on placed balls hitting 7 of his 8 scores from frees. UCC’s Conor Lehane did his utmost to keep his side in contention for the title but the scoring force from all six Carlow forwards was something Ger Cunningham’s side could not withstand.
Stephen ‘Picky’ Maher got his team ahead in the opening two minutes after he was fouled and pointed. UCC were quick to reply with points from Conor Lehane and Eoghan Finn. All sights were on goals then as Shane O’Donnell dummied a pick up to allow Brian Hartnett to fall in behind and rattled the back of the net. IT Carlow’s Chris Bulger was on his toes when UCC keeper Paul Hallisey dropped a long range ball but Bolger penalised this mistake and sent Hallisey to the back of the net to retrieve the ball. Points from Lehane, ‘Picky,’ Jack Fagan and Edward Pendergast made to 1-4 to 1-3 at 12 minutes. IT Carlow were awarded a 21yard free which UCC’s Shane Roche blocked and cleared ITC’s Ian Byrnes shot. UCC built on this defence as Anthony Spillane and Shane O Donnell both pointed to reduce IT Carlow’s lead to two points.
David Geary and Ian O Byrne exchanged points to leave two between the sides again. The switch of Shane of Donnell to the Half-Forward line did prove effective momentary as Conor Lehane was awarded and scored two frees from running attacks and Richard Cahalane and Mark O Brien also adding points for UCC. Exceptional work rate from Martin Kavanagh and on form Chris Bolger hit his second goal of IT Carlow’s three goals and also added a further two points to his name during the game. Carlow finished the first half strong leading 2-11 to 1-12 after wing forwards Charles Dwyer and ‘Picky’ Maher adding points to push them in the lead.
Half time seen the switch of a number of UCC player positions and substitutions in a bid to turn things in their favour. Richard Cahalane and Aidan Forgarty exchanged points before full-forward Jack Fagan hit the UCC net and IT Carlow were well on their way to claim their first league title. Michael Breen, Conor Lehane, Richard Cahalane and Brian Harnett were the main players for UCC but ITC were phenomenal in all fifteen positions. Although both sides racked up a large wide count if UCC had taken these chances it would have been a closer game.
Moving on, UCC will return to prepare for the Fitzgibbion championship while IT Carlow celebrate their first ever league title.
Draws for the Fitzgibbon championship takes place next Wednesday December 10th.
UCC Scorers: Conor Lehane 0-7 (0-4f), Brian Hartnett 1-0, David Geary 0-3, Anthony Spillane, Eoghan Finn, Rickard Cahalane 0-2 each, Mark O’Brien, Alan Cadogan, 0-1 each
Carlow IT Scorers: Stephen Maher 0-8 (0-7f), Chris Bolger 2-2, Jack Fagan 1-2, Charles Dwyer 0-4, Ian Byrne 0-3, Martin Kavanagh, Aidan Fogarty 0-1 each
UCC : Paul Hallissey, Paudie Prendergast (Waterford), Michael Breen (Tipperary), Shane Roche (Waterford), Killian Burke, Tadgh Burke (Waterford), Mark O’Brien (Waterford), Cormac Walsh, Richard Cahalane, Eoghan Finn, Conor Lehane, Brian Hartnett, Anthony Spillane, Shane O’Donnell (Clare), David Geary
IT Carlow: Conor Clancy (Offaly), Ciaran Doyle (Kilkenny), Michael Ryan, Kevin Hanafin (Kerry), Will Young (Laois), Conor Doughan (Offaly), Dale O’Hanlon (Tipperary), Aidan Fogarty (Kilkenny), Martin Kavanagh, Charles Dwyer (Laois), Ian Byrne (Wexford), Stephen Maher (Laois), Chris Bolger (Kilkenny), Jack Fagan (Meath), Edward Prendergast (Kilkenny)