Switches do the trick for Cork IT

Cork IT 4-15 Carlow IT 1-10
It was a case of job done in the end for Cork IT as they prevailed at home to Carlow IT at the CIT Sports Stadium in the Fitzgibbon Cup as last year’s defeated finalists booked a place in the quarter-finals.

With Waterford IT having already beaten Carlow, it means next week’s game between Cork and Waterford will be to decide which of the colleges gets home advantage in the last eight.

Despite starting slowly here, and falling behind when Paddy Walsh’s goal put Carlow 1-1 to 0-2 ahead in the 12th minute, Cork responded well.

The introduction of Waterford’s Stephen Daniels into the defence helped, as did the relocation of Stephen O’Halloran to centre-back, while the switching of Michael O’Sullivan to midfield with Jamie Coughlan joining the full-forward line saw both players becoming more productive.

Rather than take credit for the realignment, Cork IT coach Keith Ricken preferred to point to an overall improvement.

“I wouldn’t say it was the switches, maybe the lads turned on a switch themselves,” he said.

“They had a good chat among themselves at half-time and their workrate improved and their attitude improved.”

Coughlan finished with 2-2, the first in the 20th minute when goalkeeper Stephen Nyhan dropped a huge free on top of him in front of the Carlow goal, and though his first effort was kept out, he poked home the loose ball among a throng of players.

That helped Cork to lead by 2-8 to 1-4, Stephen Maher’s frees keeping Carlow in touch. Coughlan is due a hip operation which will curtail his involvement in Cork’s league campaign, but Ricken hopes to have him next week.

“I don’t know [if he will be available], we’ll play it by ear,” he said.

“I know he’s anxious to get it done, and so are we, he’s only in his second year in college, and we have to mind him for his club and his county too.”

It said a lot about the possession Cork enjoyed that former Kilkenny goalkeeper PJ Ryan was one of Carlow’s better players, with a couple of good saves from David Drake, but he could do little to stop John Cronin’s effort on 38, which ended the game as a contest.

Daire Lordan and Coughlan had some nice points late on, while Coughlan got his second goal when he finished a nice moved involving Cronin and Lordan.

Bigger tests await, but for Cork IT the first obstacle has been cleared.

Scorers for Cork IT: J Coughlan 2-2, D Lordan 0-4 (0-2f), L McLoughlin (0-2f), D Drake 0-3 each, J Cronin, M O’Sullivan 1-0 each, A Walsh, JM O’Callaghan, B Cooper 0-1 each.

Scorers for Carlow IT: S Maher 0-7 (0-6f, 0-1 65), P Walsh 1-0, O Walsh, T Carroll, N Foyle 0-1 each.

CORK IT (Cork unless stated): S Nyhan; A Dennehy, B O’Sullivan, S O’Halloran (Clare); P O’Connor (Clare), L McLoughlin, T Lawrence; J Coughlan, N Kelly; J Cronin, D Drake, A Walsh; D Lordan, M O’Sullivan, B Cooper.

Subs: S Daniels (Waterford) for Lawrence (17), N O’Doherty for Kelly (49), E Concannon (Galway) for Walsh (55), JM O’Callaghan for Cooper (58).

CARLOW IT (Kilkenny unless stated): PJ Ryan; D Buckley (Tipperary), D Kenny, B Harding (Offaly); S Gardiner (Offaly), C Fogarty, P Hally (Tipperary); I Byrne (Wexford), O Walsh; P Walsh (Carlow), J Carroll (Tipperary), S Maher (Laois); T Carroll (Offaly) C Kenny (Tipperary), P Buggy.

Subs: N Foyle (Laois) for Buggy (34), C English for J Carroll (38), M Sexton (Cork) for P Walsh (52).

Referee: S Hourigan (Limerick).

Picture: CLOSING IN: Cork IT full-forward Michael O’Sullivan is tackled by Carlow IT full-back David Buckley during yesterday’s Fitzgibbon Cup game at Cork IT. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

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