03 March 2016
All roads will lead to Waterford on Tuesday and Wednesday next week when the Colleges FAI stage their 'Annual Festival of Finals' which this year will be hosted by Waterford Institute of Technology, the first time the finals will be held in their impressive new Sports Campus.
Ten teams have made it to the five finals which will be played over the two days and will culminate with the flagship Colleges FAI Umbro Cup Final taking place at the RSC on Wednesday (3.0).
The splendid Waterford IT Sports Campus in Carriganore will host the four other finals and the Bob Eustace Cup and Shield plus the Umbro Plate taking place on Tuesday while the 'B' Team Cup Final will go ahead at Carriganore the following day at 12.0 noon.
Joe O'Brien, Colleges FAI Chairman expressed his appreciation to Waterford IT's Sports and Societies Officer Robin Croke for his help in the organising of the two days of the finals.
"We are absolutely delighted that the finals are being hosted by Waterford IT. Waterford is a great football city and the soccer club in the institute reflects that with Robin Croke, Paul O'Brien and John Douglas all continuing to do great work with the players" explained O'Brien.
"Over the past number of years we have gone back to having the Colleges FAI Cup Finals hosted in our member colleges. We find it a great experience for everyone involved as it gives the host college an opportunity to showcase their college facilities to a wider community. Ten teams plus supporters will come to Waterford and that should provide an added boost to the local economy " continued O'Brien.
"This will be our 43rd finals and we have to thank our long time sponsors Umbro who have agreed to remain our main sponsor for the next five years" added O'Brien.
While Croke explained that with the development of the Carriganore Sports Complex five years ago Waterford IT have been very active in hosting Third Level events in recent years.
"The Women's Inter Varsities Soccer finals were held there last April and Colleges and Universities events including GAA, Rugby and Athletics competitions regularly take place in Carriganore so to have the Colleges FAI Cup Finals here after many years is a great privilege for us" pointed out Croke.
The prestigious Umbro Cup Final has a unique pairing this year with the holders IT Carlow 'A' bidding to capture the trophy for a record five in a row times and a sixth in seven years, facing the IT Carlow 'B' side in the decider.
The Carlow first team have also the added incentive of aiming for a league and cup double after they were crowned CUFL Premier League champions last week.
The hosts Waterford IT are represented by their 'C' side who will face Galway Technical Institute managed by former League of Ireland stalwart Johnny Glynn in the Bob Eustace Cup Final on Tuesday (2.30).
While manager Stephen O'Donnell will take charge of the recently promoted Division One winners Dundalk IT as they tackle Athlone IT in the Umbro Plate decider on Tuesday (5.30).
A third IT Carlow side - the 'C' squad - have also made it to the 'B' Team Cup Final where their opponents will be IT Blanchardstown 'B' on Wednesday at noon in Carriganore.
TUESDAY MARCH 8
Colleges FAI Bob Eustace Shield Final
Air Corps College v Rathmines College of FE (12.0).
Colleges FAI Bob Eustace Cup Final
Waterford IT 'C' v Galway Technical Institute (2.30).
Colleges FAI Umbro Plate Final
Dundalk IT v Athlone IT (5.0).
All games at Waterford IT Sports Campus Carriganore.
WEDNESDAY MARCH 9
Colleges FAI 'B' Team Cup Final
IT Carlow 'C' v IT Blanchardstown 'B'
Waterford IT Sports Campus, Carriganore (12.0).
Colleges FAI Umbro Cup Final
IT Carlow 'A' v IT Carlow 'B'
RSC Waterford (3.0).