Classy Carlow’s four-in-a-row
Stiofain Naofa no match for IT Carlow as they set record in Umbro Cup decider
Kingpins IT Carlow claimed a record breaking four in a row Colleges FAI Umbro Cups and a fifth in six seasons, with a comfortable 2-0 victory over Cork side Colaiste Stiofain Naofa in the final at the AUL Complex.
An equally clear cut 3-0 win over Athlone IT in the decider last year saw the talented Carlow outfit, which boasts several League of Ireland regulars, match the only other three wins on the bounce achieved by the College of Technology Kevin St in the early 70’s and their latest success cements their dominance in this competition over the past six years.
Stiofain Naofa who have yet to capture the Umbro Cup came up a little short of getting the better of their more experienced opponents and a goal in each half proved more than enough to give Carlow another cup triumph.
L.iam Murphy’s young side never quite reached the heights of the previous weeks’ tremendous display in Limerick when a hard fought 2-1 win over NUI Galway clinched the Colleges and Universities Division One title and more importantly promotion to the Premier League next season.
The effects of Stiofan Naofa’s huge efforts against NUI Galway were clearly visible at the AUL where Carlow began to dominate from early on.
Eric Molloy opened the score after 20 minutes when he picked up a lose ball out on the left flank and his wind assisted speculative long range effort somehow found its way past Stiofain Naofa ’keeper Ryan Price who in fairness might have had one eye on the inrushing John Morgan.
Carlow’s outstanding full back Noel Haverty looked dangerous every time he burst forward on the right and one effort just missed the target shaving Price’s post on the way out as Carlow went in search of more goals.
Molloy came close to doubling their advantage but he fired over from a Jonny Bonner corner while Bonner himself shot wide from a free kick on the edge of the box.
The tremendous work rate of Thomas Croke and the impressive Conor O’Brien had Carlow well in control of the midfield area where Stiofain Naofa’s David Dineen and James McCarthy struggled to gain any foothold.
O’Brien set up Croke for a run at the Cork defence but he failed to test Price putting a fierce drive wide.
Molloy was also proving too pacy for full back Keith Hegarty and the Carlow winger fired over from O’Brien’s excellent through pass.
While on the other flank Andy Mulligan also put a decent chance past the post after more good work by Bonner.
Stiofain Naofa posed little in the way of a threat with only a Mark Collins free kick that was scrambled away and later a header from centre back James Burkley causing the Carlow defence any anxious moments.
The holders increased their lead six minutes after the resumption with Morgan beating Price with a clinical finish after O’Brien’s perfectly weighted through pass had given him the chance.
Shortly after Bonner might have made it 3-0 when his close in free had Price at full stretch to tip it over.
Murphy pushed Burkley up front but he was forced to retire with 20 minutes remaining before he had any impact after a clash of heads with centre back Daniel McGuinness.
With Carlow cruising to a comfortable victory Stiofain Naofa did manage to summon up a couple of late attacks.
Jamie Stack just failed to test Houghton from close in after Hegarty’s high cross from the left broke to him in the box.
And shortly after Stack again was unlucky not to hit the target when the Carlow ‘keeper scrambled to keep out his fierce drive.
COLAISTE STIOFAIN NAOFA: Ryan Price; Conor O’Mahony, James Burkley, Dylan Walsh, Keith Hegarty; Mark Collins, Shane O’Connell, David Dineen, James McCarthy, Robert Fitzpatrick; Jamie Stack.
Subs: Michael O’Regan (for Burkley 67 mins), Cian Murphy (for Dineen 69), Fintan O’Callaghan, Jake Inglis, Kyle Holland, Ross Moynihan, Lorcan Cahoon.
IT CARLOW: Seamus Houghton: Noel Haverty, Jonathan Savage, Daniel McGuinness, Ger O’Boyle; Eric Molloy, Thomas Croke, Conor O’Brien, Andy Mulligan; Jonny Bonner; John Morgan.
Subs: Adam O’Rourke (for Morgan73 mins), Conor O’Keeffe (for Mulligan 82 mins), Uros Ivkovic (for O’Brien 87 mins), Stephen Lawless, Darragh Gibbs, Marc Keeley, Ian O’Brien.
REFEREE: Eddie Reilly. Assistants: Tony McGuinness, Martin Browne, (pictured). 4th official: Colin Duffy
COLAISTE STIOFAIN NAOFA..............0