IT Carlow 4
IT Sligo 1
By Harry Shorthose
IT Carlow were crowned Perpetual Cup champions in Athlone last Tuesday with a hard-fought win over IT Sligo in what was a remarkable game in many ways. They had to do it the hard way though, coming back from a goal down having dominated the early stages.
The Carlow side took the game to their opponents from the word go, Shane Barnes and Sean Hurley threatening early. Sligo started coming into the game and threatened through Brian Kavanagh who hit a shot wide on the left.
After 14 minutes, Sligo took the lead against the run of play when a free from the left found Mark Byrne who headed past Marcin Kowalczyk.
Carlow looked to fight back almost immediately when Doyle set up fellow Carlow man Dean Kelly in the box but he shot wide.
Jeremiah Idahor and Naytahn Coleman both had chances but neither could find the back of the net. Byrne had a great chance to give Sligo a two-goal cushion when his effort from the left beat Kowalczyk but he could not steer it into the back of the net. The best chance of the game fell to Doyle on 28 minutes who had the ball played into him over the top.
He controlled the ball, turned his marker, controlled it again and only had to steer it into the back of the net but just missed the bottom left-hand corner.
They got their equaliser two minutes later thanks to a superb solo effort from Mark Birrane down the left who ran into the gap between two defenders to score.
Sligo came out fighting after the break and laid siege to the Carlow goal. However, it was IT Carlow who broke the deadlock first, a well-worked effort from Shane Barnes when he was played in behind the defence on the right and skipped past his man to turn and shoot with his left foot.
With the game in the balance, Sligo started to fall apart and lose their heads as an incident led to red cards being shown to two Sligo men in the space of two minutes. With 15 minutes to go, Doyle put the icing on the cake for IT Carlow with a cracker of a goal from the edge of the box on the right-hand side for the third.
Within minutes of the restart, Sligo were reduced to eight with another red card being issued for a rash tackle from behind on Doyle. Deep into injury time, Kelly got himself on the scoresheet with an effort from the left after Lee Kavanagh squared it to him across the box and all he had to do was tap it into the net. The game got blown up prematurely with the referee having to brandish a fourth red card to Sligo.
IT Carlow: Marcin Kowalczyk, Kevin McEvoy, Naythan Coleman, Conor Walsh, Dean Kelly, Mark Birrane, Liam McCartan, Jason Murphy, Shane Barnes, Danny Doyle, Sean Hurley. Subs: Adam Steed, Jordan Tallon, Lee Kavanagh, Shane Martin, Calvin Nolan, Kevin Wiliams, Ben Brown-Roche. Coaching Staff: Tom Elmes, Joe Adibekov, Liam Berry, Luke Hardy.
Meanwhile, IT Carlow C lost the CFAI Challenge Cup Final in Athlone on Wednesday 1-0 to IT Tralee. Eoin Brennan from Tullow and Luke FitzPatrick from Carlow Town both started alongside New Oak’s Barry O’Driscoll and Killeshin’s Isaac Tallant with Jake Hickey from Hacketstown on the bench.