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Waterford And Carlow Triumph In All-Ireland Colleges Finals

Waterford And Carlow Triumph In All-Ireland Colleges Finals

The All-Ireland Colleges finals took place in Carlow IT this week. Waterford IT edged out Carlow IT in the Division 1 final, while the Carlow IT seconds side picked up the silverware in the Division 2 decider.

Irish Colleges Rugby Union Division 1 Final:

WIT 29 Carlow IT 21

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Both Division 1 and Division 2 finals were held at Carlow Institute of Technology. Played in front of 1,500 spectators availing of the special erected stand, both games entertained those present on a pleasant but cold afternoon.

A young and relatively inexperienced side Carlow IT side came ever so close to capturing their first Irish Division 1 Colleges title at their new home rugby arena.

In a pulsating final they went down by eight points after extra-time but captain Rob Smith felt that despite losing the territorial battle in the first half the game could have gone either way late on.

“Our penalty count was quite high in the first half. It was a 100-minute game and it was a bounce of the ball either way,” he said afterwards. 

Gary Jones
punished early Carlow indiscipline with three penalties but Richard Whyte had a similar effort to see his side trailing 9-3 at the break.

Sub Matt Dempsey was successful with two penalty attempts after the break. A Tadhg Nihill try looked like settling the issue but Aidan Mulligan bullocked his way over the Southerners line for the equalizing try in the 79th minute.

Two evenly matched teams were still level after the first period of extra time with Conor O’Leary putting Carlow ahead but Kieran Moloney crossed the Carlow line minutes later. The tries were converted.

Both sides visibly tired at this stage and it was the visitors who finished strongest as Smith ruefully observed.

“We were drawing after eighty minutes and were level with three minutes to go. It was there for the taking. After so long some tackles slipped away and no one was at fault,” he said.

Moloney broke the Carlow resistance when he crossed once more and Jones cemented a marvelous victory for the Waterford side when he added a penalty.

The losing captain was disappointed but somewhat upbeat afterwards.

“I am on the IRFU rugby course here. A lot of our players are only in first or second year so we have another few years at it at least,” he said defiantly.

Waterford IT: Stephen Duffy (Wicklow), Ian Watchorn (Waterpark), Kieran Howlin (Waterpark), James Hyland (Portarlington), Dave Joyce (Clonmel), Gary Jones (Midleton), Paddy Hyland (Portarlington); Andrew Lynch (Waterpark), Ross Brosnan (Naas), Anthony Walsh (Wexford Wanderers), Brendan Kelly (Waterpark), Ailbe Devitt (Cashel), Tadgh Nihill (Garryowen), John Manahan (Waterpark), Phil Cronin (Waterpark). 

Subs used: Brendan Walsh (Waterpark) for Brosnan 59mins, Kieran Moloney (Blackrock) for Kelly 84mins, David Copeland (Waterford IT) for Joyce E/T.

Carlow IT: Steve Harvey (Nenagh), Tom McDonogh (Co.Carlow), Alan Kenny (Old Belvedere), Conor O’Leary (Highfield), Peter Toal (Old Belvedere), Richard Whyte (Co.Carlow), Emlyn Lynch (Co. Carlow); David Hegarty (Wayne Brennan), Joe Gorman (Co. Carlow), Wayne Brennan (Old Belvedere), Karl Miller (Old Belvedere), John Turner (Wexford Wanderers), Aidan Mulligan (Bective Rangers), Donogh O’Shea (Wanderers), Rob Smith (Carlow IT).

Subs used: Barry Carlin (Greystones) for Hegarty 17mins, Matt Dempsey (Co. Carlow) for Toal 55mins, Eric White (Clonakilty) for Whyte (78 mins).

Referee: David Bolger (ARLB)

Irish Colleges Rugby Union Division 2 Final:

Carlow IT 13 Tallaght IT 0

There was a measure of compensation for Carlow when they beat Tallaght IT to take the Division 2 title.

Matt Dempsey nudged his side ahead in the 26th minute when he was successful with a penalty attempt.

However, both sides struggled in the cold and difficult wind conditions so the Carlow side had to be content with the 3-0 interval lead.

They looked to be in trouble but they raised their game considerably after the break. Their forwards dominated and Dempsey landed another penalty to put his side 6-0 ahead in the 48th minute.

The key moment of the game came in the 58th minute when, after a period of incessant pressure, Wesley Wojnar was at the end of a driving maul to touch down.

The reaction of his team-mates said it all as he was embraced jubilantly as he came up with the ball. Dempsey added the points.

Out-half Martin O’Neill should have added another try ten minutes later but lost the ball over the line under pressure when in the act of scoring.

Tallaght to their credit had their best spell in the last ten minutes and only desperate defending kept out Mark O’Neill and the red haired out-half’s tireless running created huge gaps in the home defence but Tallaght were held up on several occasions close to the Carlow line.

In the end the spoils went to the better side. Tallaght did have chances but tries generally dictating games and Carlow notched the score which mattered on the day.

Carlow IT: Matt Dempsey (Co. Carlow), Stuart O’Malley (Co. Carlow), Ian McCarthy (Carlow IT), Paddy Barcoe (Co. Carlow), Derek Hayden (Co. Carlow), Martin O’Neill (Waterpark), Eric White (Clonakilty); Niall Harney (Buccaneers), Dan O’Byrne (Terenure), Darragh Kelly (Old Belvedere), Joe Bulmer (Co. Carlow), Ciaran O’Rourke (AC Pirates), Paul McEniffe (Tullamore), Tommy Ratahi (Co. Carlow), Wesley Wojnar(Greystones).

Subs used: Conor Finan (Naas) for McEniffe 62mins, Austin Cella for Kelly (64mins).

Tallaght IT: Craig Morrin (St. Mary’s), Kieran Traynor (St. Mary’s), Mark Sexton (St. Mary’s), Graham Coffey (Terenure), Darragh Fanning (St.Mary’s), Mark O’Neill (Terenure), Richie O’Neill (Terenure); Conor Moffet (Terenure), Brian Moran (St. Mary’s), Barry O’Reilly (Terenure), Stuart Dunlop (Terenure), Simon King (Clondalkin), Michael Morrin (Terenure), Ross Scally (CYM), Kevin Gallivan (St. Mary’s).

Subs used: Ron Croker (St. Mary’s) for Coffey 46mins, Bosco Kangurendo (Guinness) for Traynor 55mins, Dave Doyle (Tallaght IT) for Scally 56mins, Ben Connery (St.Mary’s) for Moran 66mins.