Hurling:It is with great sadness that we report the untimely death of UCC’s hurling manager and hall of fame recipient, Paul O’Connor. O’Connor had a successful career at all levels, winning the Harty Cup with the North Monastery, a pair of county titles with Na Piarsaigh and playing Senior hurling with Cork for three years. However his legendary status was cemented in the Fitzgibbon Cup where he won a five-in-a-row between 1982 and 1986, captaining the ’86 side and scoring a renowned point from 85 yards out. He was named at midfield in the Fitzgibbon Team of the Century. He went on to coach the college’s Fitzgibbon teams from the mid-nineties, winning a hat-trick of titles between 1996 and 1998 before capturing further victories in 2009 and a unique success in the Mardyke last March against CIT, in the competition’s centenary renewal. Former inter-county hurlers and clubmates, Tony O’Sullivan and Aisake Ó hAilpín were among those to express their grief at what was described as a personal tragedy by the Gardaí. Director of Physical Education and Sport, Christine O’Donovan paid tribute to him on behalf of the college.
Equestrian: At the World University Equestrian Games held in Aachen in late August, Brian Morrison of UCC finished 5th in the Combined Individual scoring. He was at the top of the field through the first two rounds of dressage but couldn’t crack the top-six required to qualify for the semi-finals. It was a similar story in the showjumping with a spectacular clear in the second round followed by a pair of fences down in the third. Ireland finished 4th in the team rankings.
Hockey: Andrew Gray has been nominated for the Irish Hockey awards Senior Club Player of the Year. However UCC will have to deal with the transfer of his brother Robert as well as a severe hip injury to Graham Catchpole, who’s out for the coming season. They have strengthened though with Andrew Scannell in from Bandon, to replace Catchpole in midfield, and remain unbeaten in pre-season. Miriam Crowley returns to the ladies club after a year as a part of the centralised Irish squad, but was preparing to return to international duty (in next week’s FIH Champions Challenge 1 tournament) as UCC faced Ashton in their season opener on Saturday.
Rugby: As is the trend in recent years, the UCC Senior rugby team will have to deal with high player turnover as a number of last year’s first XV choose to play for their home clubs at an earlier stage of their careers. Already the O Súilleabháin brothers, Garrett and Oscar, and Brian Slater have collected the pre-season Cork Charity Shield as part of a Dolphin side captained by current student Niall Scannell. UCC chose not to compete in the Shield and opened their season with a 12-5 friendly victory over Galwegians. However Young Munster went on to overpower the students the following week in their Munster Senior Cup encounter. UCC will face into the new season under a new coaching team with Dave Keane, Sean Conway, Dan Daly and Declan O’Halloran taking over from Conor Twomey, who spent six years at the helm. Meanwhile UCC clubmen Brian Scott, Dave O’Connell and Ben Nugent all lined out for the Munster U20s in their recent Interpros with Steven Dalton a replacement for the U19s.
Soccer: With the MSL Premier Division already up and running, UCC will make their return to the top tier in just over a week’s time, having had extra time to prepare for the new season. A tough friendly with Cork City certainly steeled them for the step up in quality as the League of Ireland outfit hammered the students 6-nil.
Ultimate Frisbee: Four UCC students represented Ireland at the recent World Junior Ultimate Championships held in DCU with Aoife Blake, Ben Noonan, Edel Cormac and Kevin Rice all featuring.