Fresh from WNT duty in Portugal, the Donegal native was unstoppable at times as she scooped the Player of the Tournament award after 4 goals and 4 assists from three games.
In their opening game against South-East rivals Waterford IT, it was McLaughlin that opened the scoring before teeing up Lauren Dwyer and Rachel Graham to extend the lead to 3-0. Further goals from Megan Lynch and a penalty from Amanda Budden made the final score 5-0 and three points on the board.
In their second tie against Maynooth University, their CUFL Women’s Premier Division Semi-Final opponents next month, they produced the same result with five more goals added to Carlow’s tally with McLaughlin (2), Graham, Dwyer and Kane the providers.
In their final game against IT Sligo, McLaughlin opened the scoring again before turning creator for Graham and Lynch, with Lynch adding the finishing touches to the 4-2 win with an excellent individual effort.
Speaking after the celebrations, IT Carlow captain Rachel Graham noted how difficult it has been to claim the achievement with the growing competitiveness in Women’s Third Level Futsal. “There’s more Women’s National League players in Third Level now. Our IT Carlow team is probably the best it has ever been with a couple of senior international players, but the games are still tight and tough to win.”
IT Carlow Head Coach Darren McGarry was hoping this was the beginning of better things to come for his talented side. “Well I think that the treble (League, Kelly Cup and Futsal Cup) is our aim. Obviously, we are the team to beat and everyone wants to beat IT Carlow. It is going to be difficult but that’s the goals the girls have set, and we can only aim to win everything.”
Waterford IT would regain their composure throughout the day as they claimed victories against IT Sligo and Maynooth.
In the Plate, DCU would make it three of their own in the Plate competition as they swept aside their group in a goal-filled display. Heavy victories against UCD, Limerick IT and GMIT Galway meant that the Plate will be spending another year in Glasnevin with Aisling Frawley and Aoibhin Webb the main protagonists on the day.