home Sports One Year later, UCC clubs finally return

One Year later, UCC clubs finally return

By Sam Curtin 

 

It’s been a long time coming but college life slowly begins to return to normal this September. While the past year has been unusual inside the classroom, the same can be said for outside. It has been eighteen months since sport has been played on university grounds and for many, it is a year overdue.

For second years it will feel like a fresh start when their college life finally begins in earnest while incoming first years have had their own challenges to deal with. Over the coming weeks, the hustle and bustle of clubs and socs fairs will resume in some shape or form and students will finally get to have their pick of the lot. Some looking to continue where they left off, others for the very first time. An experience which is arguably a rite of passage for all students attending the skull and crossbones.

For the clubs themselves, the upcoming year represents a chance to make up for lost time and long goodbyes have become longer reconnections with members who may have lost contact over the past eighteen months. What’s truly incredible is the vast array of options available to students with the current range of clubs arguably larger and more diverse than it has ever been. There are over 50 clubs in total in UCC, some of whom have only been in existence for a couple of years and may have felt the burden of pandemic more than others as they attempt to establish themselves among students and the wider public. 

Not only this but from my own experience, the clubs that I am involved with such as tennis and rugby are delighted to be back and are almost welcoming the administrative work normally has to be done as it is a sign of a return to normality, something which hopefully will not be out of reach over the next few months. Some clubs such as rugby and soccer are already back in pre-season and playing games in preparation for the year ahead. It has been refreshing to see the farm in Curraheen being a hub of activity once again having been dormant for so long.

 Along with the Farm, the Mardyke is a must visit place for incoming students as the sporting year begins to gather pace. Sports such as rugby, hockey, GAA and basketball are all to be played out within yards of each other. That’s without even mentioning the dozens of other clubs dotted around the surrounding suburbs awaiting the chance to showcase themselves as the club to be with.

One important initiative which should help incoming students is the “Find Your Sport” campaign which is starting on the 20th of September. It is designed to help both clubs and students find the right club for them in order to make new friends, try a new activity and help bring the vibrant atmosphere back to extra-curricular activities which have been long missed.

Another hugely important initiative is the return of the UCC Quercus sports scholarship which will have a huge impact for its recipients and for the profile of sport in UCC. Notable current scholars include Olympic gold medallist Paul O’Donovan. The scholarship can transform the lives of a student who may struggle with balancing their academic and sporting careers. The financial assistance along with the opportunity to access the very best of facilities gives students every opportunity to achieve on and off the sporting field without the extra stress of external issues such as accessing accommodation, paying fees and time management.

Overall, this upcoming year can’t come soon enough. The return of clubs and what they bring to student life is the perfect antidote to the past 18 months. One only truly appreciates something when it’s gone and to have sport back should make this extra special on and off the pitch. 

As the saying goes, good things come to those who wait. It’s good to be back.

 

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