Fitzgibbon Preview: IT Carlow vs DCU

All eye’s in IT Carlow will turn to their Fitzgibbon team this Thursday night fresher from their Sigerson victory over Sligo IT on Tuesday. 

The back to back Higher Education Division 1 league champions take on DCU on home soil this Thursday evening at 7pm.

The last number of years have seen IT Carlow Fitzgibbon team go from strength to strength. In 2013 a talented bunch of first years arrived to IT Carlow which would go on to win the Division 1 Fresher hurling final vs UCC in late November. Fast forward five months and IT Carlow were defeated in the All-Ireland fresher hurling final at the hands of UCD by three points. These fresher stars easily slotted into the Fitzgibbon team of  2014 with Waterford’s Colin Dunford, Meath’s Jack Fagan, Laois’ Will Young and Dwane Palmer, Offaly’s Conor Doughan and Dylan Murray along with Carlow’s Marty Kavanagh and James Doyle all fighting for starting 15 positions. 

Now in his second year of IT Carlow’s hurling ambassador role, DJ Carey set his sights to build on their previous year success. Joining the likes of Wexford’s Ian Byrne, Laois’ Stephen Maher and Cha Dwyer and Kilkenny’s Kevin Kelly and Aidan Fogarthy IT Carlow were soon becoming a force to be reckoned with. Claiming the Division 1 league title for the first time was a stepping stone in the prosperous campaign that lay ahead for IT Carlow in the third level hurling competitions. 

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IT Carlow Captain Ian Byrne with the Independent.ie Division 1 league hurling Cup

As the winning momentum continued, IT Carlow defeated Mary Immaculate Limerick and Maynooth University in their Fitzgibbon Championship rounds two and three but were defeated by 2014/15 Fitzgibbon Champions WIT in round one refocusing their game plan to a must win strategy. Following a couple of weeks of disruption IT Carlow found themselves facing LIT in LIT in horrendously wet conditions where the Carlow side ended their Championship campaign with a four point loss.

Aidan Fogarthy strikes the ball

Aidan Fogarthy strikes the ball

Winning the Division 1 league and reaching the Fitzgibbon quarter-final was a huge bonus to the South East College, but DJ Carey and his team of Mick Dempsey, Brian Dunne and Michael Boyhan have higher expectations for 2016. Completing back to back Division 1 league titles in 2015 set the standard that IT Carlow are now a pillar in the Fitzgibbon Championship. 

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Picky Maher attempting a block down against UCC in the 2015/2016 Division 1 league final

Looking towards Thursday night’s clash, IT Carlow will be hoping that there wont be a recurrence of last years first round nerves and get their first win under their belt against DCU. Fixed for 7pm in IT Carlow the visitors will be hoping to cause an upset with Dublin native Cian Boland and Danny Sutcliffe, u21 star Wexford’s Tony French and Tipperary’s former dual star and now hurling focused Steven O’Brien set to cause havoc after throw-in. After their three point loss to eventual winners UL last year in the Fitzgibbon quarter-finals, DCU will be determined to also go that one step further.

Throw in 7pm in the IT Carlow GAA grounds. 

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