Following on from last season’s heart stopping title decider, where Sean Mcloughlin’s late winner secured the double for UCC, the Munster Senior League returns for University College Cork. In what will be a testing season for Noel Healy’s side, the former Cork City FC player will be hoping to build upon an outstanding 2016/17 which saw UCC claim the Munster Senior League title as well as the Collingwood Cup, and finishing runners up in CUFL league.
The successes and spine of the team reached national headlines as Sean O’ Mahony and Sean Mcloughlin’s performances earned them a move to Cork City FC in June 2017. These moves furthering the successes of UCC soccer of late; joining the ranks of Josh O’Shea and Michael McSweeney who stepped up from UCC to the green jersey.
Returning at the helm will be Noel Healy in his fourth season in charge. Once a deputy to Cork City’s own John Caulfield, Healy took the job midway through the 2013 season as Caulfield stepped up to the Rebel Army. Since his introduction at UCC the college has enjoyed a rushed time of fortune both locally and nationally. 2014/15 saw his side claim the Munster Senior League and Collingwood titles while reaching the quarterfinals of the EA Sports Cup, where his side faced then-League of Ireland champions Dundalk. Despite a 5-0 score line to the Lilywhites, UCC finished out the season with a historic intervarsity treble, never before seen on Leeside. 2016 saw stuttering successes, but still UCC rang victorious through the Farqar Cup. 2017 saw progression in the FAI Intermediate Cup, semi-finals of the Donie Forde Cup, finalists of the CUFL League and a historic double campaign.
Returning is a spine of well-tested players, both internationally and domestically. Forward Shane Daly Butz returns once again, fresh from donning the green jersey for Republic of Ireland in the UEFA Regions Cup, while he will be linking up with target man Daniel Pender as the two will be looking for a return to an electric run of form which catapulted UCC to glory last season. Former Cork City FC goalkeeper Kevin O’Brien will once more be in between the sticks, while fresh from the World University Games in Taipei is Ben McAuliffee. Former Cork City FC underage protégé Timmy Murphy will be wearing the skull and crossbones.
The season will begins with a Munster Senior League before progressing into the FAI Intermediate Cup second round. UCC received a bye for the first round, easing the college into the promise of yet another cup run. Intervarsity season won’t be long coming as February will bring the Collingwood, Harding and Crowley Cup.