barnes-storming game delivers crown back to carlow

19 March 2019

IT Carlow are the 2018/19 RUSTLERS CUFL Premier Division champions after a pulsating 3-2 victory over University of Limerick in Athlone Town Stadium.



A Shane Barnes brace and Danny Doyle's opener sealed a fourth success in the competition for IT Carlow and adds to their CFAI Colleges Plate success this season. Head Coach Tom Elmes also became the first person to win the Premier Division as a player and coach, following his own success with Carlow in 2012.

It was an action-packed game throughout and Carlow hit the ground running with Doyle heading home Dean Kelly's cross after just 69 seconds of play.

UL eventually settled into the game and forced their own chances with Killian Hayes bringing Marcin Kowalczyk into action with a smart stop at his near post.
Carlow doubled their lead seven minutes before half-time when Ian Fletcher failed to deal with a long ball over the top and Barnes swooped in and lifted the ball over the on-rushing Shane McCormack and knocked the ball into an empty net.

The second half followed the same script and it was end-to-end ten minutes into the half when McCormack made a brilliant double save from Doyle and Barnes before Limerick broke and it was Kowalczyk's turn to deny Hayes again.
UL's Harding Cup hero Ed O'Dwyer instilled some belief in his side with twelve minutes remaining when he headed home Alan Murphy's cross at the back post.

That belief was knocked back just moments later when Barnes ran on to a through ball from Mark Birrane and cooly finished past McCormack to send the entire Carlow team and bench hurtling down to their goalscorer.

A crazy couple of minutes had another layer added to it when sixteen seconds after the restart from Barnes goal, the ball was in IT Carlow's net when Kowalczyk failed to deal with Adam Foley's cross and Conor Whittle put the ball into the net to set up an electric final few moments.

Carlow, however, imposed their maturity upon a young Limerick side and managed to see the closing minutes out and spark scenes of jubilation.

IT Carlow: Kowalczyk, O'Reilly, Coleman, Manley, Murphy (McCarthy 87), McDaid (Birrane 60), McCartan, Kelly, Doyle, Barnes (Nolan 90), Hurley

Subs: McCarthy, Birrane, Nolan, Ennis, Martin, Connors, Brown Roache

UL: McCormack, Doherty, Madigan (Whittle HT), Fletcher, McCallion, Lynch, Hayes (Patterson 82), O'Dwyer, O'Connell (Foley HT), Cocerhan (McSweeney 58), Murphy (Kelly 85).

Subs: Foley, Kelly, McSweeney, Patterson, Whittle, Madden, Murray

Referee: Declan Toland (Midlands)

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