THE Sigerson Cup dream is over for another year for the footballers of UL after their 0-11 to 0-10 defeat to IT Carlow this Thursday afternoon.
Managed by former Limerick senior boss Liam Kearns, UL were chasing a first semi-final spot in the Third Level senior football championship since 1987.
They just fell short in a game that finished in dramatic circumstances.
The game was in injury time and IT Carlow led 0-11 to 0-10 when UL player Michael Flannery took a heavy knock and required ambulance treatment.
With the injured player lying on the field, the game was held up for 26-minutes for the ambulance to arrive.
On the restart there was just one minute to play.
Defending their lead IT Carlow, managed by former Laois football midfield star Noel Garvan, lined out with all 15 players behind the ball. Regardless UL managed to recycle possession and it fell to Eoin Carroll to attempt a snapshot at goal but he sailed wide and with that the referee brought an end to the game.
UL lined out with Limerick senior Gearoid Hegarty (St Patricks) at full forward. His inter-county colleague Cian Sheehan (Newcastle West) was ruled out due to injury.
UL played with a slight breeze in the opening half but trailed 0-7 to 0-6 at half time. It was a 30-minute spell that saw the sides level on five occasions.
Liam Boland had IT Carlow off the mark in the opening minutes but after that the first half was to be the Barry McHugh show as far as IT Carlow were concerned. The Galway man finished with eight points - one from play in either half along with great accuracy from frees.
At the other end UL were finding scores harder to come by and lined out with Antoine McFadden as an extra man in defence.
Daniel McLaughlin and Shane Killoran were the pick of the UL attack and bother kicked two points each in the opening half.
But the highlight of the half were two mammoth points from centre back Denis Daly. One a free and the other a lineball, the Kerry man made little of the huge distances to curl between the posts from either sideline.
UL did lead by a point on two occasions but it was IT Carlow that brought the lead into the interval.
In hindsight UL will rue the opening minutes of the second half when they kicked four wides when winning the possession battle in the middle third.
Indeed the only goal chance of the game came in the fifth minute of the half when Killoran just failed to get the necessary touch to a Daly delivery into the goalmouth.
Liam Boland (free) increased the IT Carlow lead with the opening score of the half and UL were never to get back level with the Leinster side responded to each score.
UL weren’t helped by blackcards to Hegarty (47th minute and Aidan Rowan (55th minute).
In the end it was a 56th minute long range free from IT Carlow goalkeeper Shane Murphy that proved the winning score.
Scorers: UL: Daniel McLaughlin and Niall McDermott (3frees) 0-3 each, Denis Daly 0-2 (1lineball, 1free), Shane Killoran 0-2 each. IT Carlow: Barry McHugh 0-8 (6frees), Liam Boland 0-2 (1free); Shane Murphy 0-1 (free).
UL: Ruairi Lavelle (Galway); Patrick O’Connor (Kerry), Cathal Long (Kerry), Fergal Boland (Mayo); Aidan Rowan (Longford), Denis Daly (Kerry), David Larkin (Wexford); Conor McNamee (Offaly), Eoin Carroll (Offaly); Antoine McFadden (Donegal), Niall McDermott (Cavan), Shane Killoran (Roscommon); Craig O’Brien (Clare), Gearoid Hegarty (Limerick), Daniel McLaughlin (Donegal). Subs: Felim McHugh (Leitrim) for Conor McNamee (20mins), Daire McLoughlin (Cork) for Craig O’Brien (h-t), Bryan O’Shea (Kerry) for Gearoid Hegarty, b-c (47mins), Michael Flannery (Kerry) for Aidan Rowan, b-c (55mins), Conor Hussey (Roscommon) for Michael Flannery, inj (62mins).
IT CARLOW: Shane Murphy (Kerry); Thomas O’Connell (Kildare), Conor Lawlor (Carlow), Declan Smyth (Meath); Eoin Lynch (Meath), Thomas Featherson (Roscommon), Eoin Walsh (Moycullen); Will Young (Laois), Mark Sherry (Kildare); Kevin Ryan (Meath), Anthony Dever (Mayo), Aanthony Forde (Mayo); Liam Boland (Tipperary), Kevin Mulvany (Cavan), Barry McHugh (Galway). Subs: Thomas Shiels (Laois) for Kevin Mulvany (40mins), Rea O’Ceallaigh (Waterford) for Anthony Dever (59mins), Ronan O’Brien (Carlow) for Eoin Lynch, b-c (60mins).
REFEREE: Conor Lane (Cork).