31 January 2014
This week was possibly one of the most exciting weeks of college football in years as three out of five of the League Semi Finals went the whole distance, extra time and the dreaded penalty shootout. In the games that did not require extra time the teams who have gone through to this year’s finals will breathe a huge sigh of relief knowing that they have earned their spot having been tested by their opposition. A great week all round for the CUFL.
In the first of the Premier Division Semi Finals, UCD had a hard fought win over Atlone IT in a very competitive game which took place in Leixlip on Wednesday. A great first half strike from Cillian Morrison put UCD 1-0 up as they controlled much of the first half. Athlone IT grew in confidence as the game went on and were very unlucky not to equalise on a few occasions as their direct style of play caused UCD problems. In the remaining minutes of the game Athlone pushed players forward in search of an equaliser but a quick break by UCD gave the outnumbered AIT defenders and goalkeeper no chance as Robbie Benson slotted home the winner.
In Division One, reigning Champions IT Carlow qualified for another Final with a hard fought win over IT Sligo. One goal from Neil Heffernan was enough to win the game.
In the second game Colaiste Stiofain Naofa hosted Trinity College and after 90 minutes the sides were deadlocked at 2-2. Neither side could get the winner in extra time so their faith would be decided by a penalty shootout. Even the shootout went all the way to sudden death where Trinity held their nerve to win 8-7 and qualify for the Final where they will want to strip IT Carlow 'B' of their Division One title.
The first Semi Final in Division Two was also played yesterday and after a change of venue due to weather conditions both LIT 'B' (Tipp) and Athlone IT 'B' travelled to Limerick IT. Tight games seemed to be the order of the day and this one was no different. After a hard fought 90 minutes the score was 2-2 and AIT B probably thought they had won it when Stefano Ceroni scored in extra time but Dan Dalton had other ideas and his late equaliser made it 3-3 and brought the game to penalties. AIT B won the shootout 5-4 and booked their place in the Division Two Final.
With AIT 'B' already in the Division Two Final IT Carlow 'C' hosted Colaiste Ide 'B' in the other Semi Final. This game again was full of cracking football and plenty of entertainment. The score at full time was 1-1 with Mark Barry netting for the home side and Gerard McSorley scoring for Colaiste Ide. Again these two cancelled each other out so a shootout was required. It was here that a hero arose in the form of IT Carlows goalkeeper Darragh Gibbs who save 3 out of 4 penalties and Carlow won the shootout 3-1.
The last of the Semi Finals took place on Thursday between Dun Laoghaire IADT and IT Carlow 'D' in Division Three. IT Carlow travelled to face Dun Laoghaire having been beaten by them already in the group game. However IT Carlow 'D' raised their game and beat a strong Dun Laoghaire IADT 2-0 thanks to goals from from Devon Germaine and Kevin McLoughlin. They now wait in the finals for the winners of DCU 'C' and DIT 'C' who play each other next week.
Upcoming CUFL Fixture
CUFL Premier Division
University College Dublin 2 vs Athlone IT 0
CUFL First Division
IT Carlow 'B' 1 vs IT Sligo 0
Colaiste Stiofain Naofa 2 vs Trinity College Dublin 2 AET
CUFL Second Division
IT Carlow 'C' 1 vs Colaiste Ide 'B' 1 AET
Limerick IT 'B' (Tipperary) 3 vs Athlone IT 'B' 3 AET
CUFL Third Division
Dun Laoghaire IADT 0 vs IT Carlow 'D' 2
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