2020 has been a year like no other on and off the sporting field. Covid-19 has certainly made its presence felt in the “most important of unimportant things”, to rob a line from Larry King. Unfortunately a number of competitions had to be cut short due to the pandemic but for those that managed to be completed, there was plenty of interest from UCC sports fans.
There have been some notable successes which have helped to not only display the university’s special relationship with sport but also its ability to succeed in the face of adversity. Here are some of the highlights of the past year.
Nowhere else to start but with the hurlers on what was another fantastic year for the Fitzgibbon cup team. Tom Kingston’s side successfully defended their title defeating the likes NUIG, CIT, DCU and IT Carlow in the final. There was also a personal success for Shane Kingston who received the player of the tournament award and was named along with five other UCC players on the Electric Ireland Fitzgibbon Cup All Stars team.
At the time of writing, both UCC hurling and football teams were in the quarter final stage of the Cork Senior Championships.
There was heartbreak unfortunately for the camogie team who were beaten in the Ashbourne Cup final by UL on a scoreline of 3-14 to 0-12. There was no shame in this however as they came up against a truly special side in UL who won their 5th title in a row.
Unfortunately for our senior ladies football and men’s fresher teams they were unable to complete their campaigns due to emergence of Covid-19 but no doubt the hunger will be there to reach the summit next year.
It was another successful year for UCC soccer with the highlight being the J1 men’s team who were crowned Division four champions with a stunning 7-0 victory against Bray Institute FE in the final. They also reached the final of the Crowley cup but narrowly missed out on the double losing 5-4 on penalties against Maynooth University.
An honourable must go to Cork City player Rob Slevin who was named ‘Three’ Colleges and Universities International Player Of The Year. Slevin is the latest UCC student who has gone on to play professionally and represent Ireland in soccer.
The rugby season was cut short due to the pandemic but there was still success for the UCC men’s team who won the Dónal Walsh Cup after defeating Cork Con 10-3.
The women’s senior team also enjoyed an impressive season reaching the semi-finals of the Senior Cup before the season was postponed. The team have performed admirably off the field since their season was cut short; the squad took part in a 2500 km run, walk and hike throughout June for the IRFU Charitable Trust.
The men’s senior hockey team had another excellent year, reaching the Munster Senior Cup final which was due to be played on St. Patrick’s Day before falling victim to Covid-19. The men’s second team were also due to be in action on finals day after reaching the Munster Junior Cup final.
The club did not finish the season empty handed however as they were named UCC Club Of The Year at the 2020 UCC Sports Club Of The Year Awards in April.
One of the most impressive performances of any sporting club in the university was UCC Rowing, some of whom represented Ireland at the Under-23 European Championships in Duisburg, Germany. 10 athletes from UCC were selected to represent their country at the championships. Notable performances included gold for Lydia Healy in the BLW2- and she followed this with another victory with Cliodhna Nolan in the LW2-. There was bronze for Alex Byrne in the BM4+, while Tara Hanlon and Emily Hegarty added to the haul with bronze in the BW2-.
Other events that took place this year included the Relay For Life, an 18 hour event running from 6pm Friday, March 6th to 12pm Saturday, March 7th. Participants and cancer survivors walked around the Sonia O’Sullivan Track in the Mardyke in solidarity in the fight against cancer.
Overall, it was a fantastic 2019/20 season for UCC sport. Sport is as important as it has ever been be it on a competitive or social level and long may this continue.
An exciting year awaits!