showdown for cufl premier division

17 March 2019

IT Carlow and University of Limerick are set to contest the 2018/19 RUSTLERS CUFL Premier Division when the two sides meet in the Final on Tuesday night in Athlone Town Stadium.

For the first time since 2016, neither University College Cork or University College Dublin will contest the senior Third Level finale as both sides exited the competition in the semi-finals.

IT Carlow were part of that 2016 final when they defeated Colaiste Stiofain Naofa 2-1 in Dublin for their third success in the competition. It is a much-changed Carlow team from their last success with captain Kieran McDaid the sole survivor from the starting eleven that defeated the Cork side.

It has been two years of frustration for Tom Elmes side as they were eliminated at the Quarter Final stage two seasons ago by a last-minute DCU penalty and were undone by more penalty drama last season as they came out at the wrong end of a shootout with UCC in the Semi-Final.

The experience of the past two seasons has appeared to be in their favour as they have shown maturity in handling the strength and power of the likes of Maynooth University and UCC. They appeared to be heading out against Maynooth in the Quarter Finals as they fell 3-1 behind before an Alan O'Sullivan-led comeback brought them into extra time before emerging as victors after penalties. They will also be buoyed by their recent CFAI Colleges Plate success over the NCI.

There are certainly no survivors from UL's last league winning team with their sole success coming ten years ago when they lifted the 2008/09 title against Letterkenny IT in Galway. John Tierney scored twice for the Munster side in the 3-1 win with Conor Molan as Manager. Molan had taken over only a couple of weeks beforehand when long-time coach Trevor Lovell left for a coaching position in South Africa.

The closest that UL have come to achieving their second success in the decade since was when they were defeated 3-2 by Colaiste Stiofain Naofa in the 2015/16 semi-finals with them failing to progress past the group stages on four of the nine occasions.

Limerick have definitely been a much more difficult threat to contain in this season's competitions as they have yet to be beaten in ninety minutes this season, including a 4-2 victory over IT Carlow in the early stages of the league. Fatigue denied them a first Collingwood Cup, however without the implication of having played twice in the two previous days, they showed great energy to steamroll IT Sligo in Extra Time in the Quarter Finals and held their nerve to eliminate the holders UCD on penalties.

RUSTLERS CUFL Premier Division Final
IT Carlow v University of Limerick
Athlone Town Stadium
Tuesday 19th March 7pm

Live on FAI Third Level Football YouTube Channel

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