Double Delight for UCD Hockey
UCD pulled off a historic double last week as they took the top honours in both the men’s and women’s classes at the Intervarsity Championships held in NUI Galway last week. The men were able to leave their disastrous form behind them in making it to the final on Tuesday where they finished their run by beating UCC 4-0 to take their first intervarsity championship in thirteen years. The women meanwhile took their unbeaten run this season over to Galway where they dominated the competition and beat Queen’s University in the final by a score of 2-0.
Day one of the three day competition had both the men and women getting off to a strong start as the women overcame UCC by a score of 2-0 while the men had their largest win of the tournament beating CIT 5-1. Day two continued in the same vein as the men secured two hard fought 2-1 wins over Queen’s University and UCC who they would meet again in the final. Meanwhile, case the women notched up a total of 14 goals without reply as they beat CIT and UL 8-0 and 6-0 respectively.
The results of day two meant that both teams had qualified unbeaten from the pool stages and would go onto the semis where the women were to take on the University of Ulster while the men had cross-town rivals DCU as their opposition.
For the first time in the competition the women were pushed right to the end by UU who really made them earn their place in the final. The game ended with UCD giving up their only two goals of the tournament as they edged it with a final score of 3-2.
The men similarly had to face a close test against DCU but in the end a solitary goal was enough to propel College into a final against UCC.
First up though was the women’s final where UCD had Queen’s University standing between them and the cup. Queens were without their star player Hannah McMillan though after she was ruled out by an injury and UCD capitalised with a first half goal from Jeamie Deacon who scored from a penalty corner. In the second half they sealed it up with an insurance goal from Caroline Hill. With another clean sheet they were able to reclaim the Chilean cup.
With the women’s success wrapped up, it was up to the men to follow suit in order to secure the double. They were going to have to pull off a similar performance to the one they had had against UCC earlier in the competition. This time however they managed one even better as they rose to the occasion. Two goals in the first half from Shane O’Donoghue set the stage while two more from captain Shane Nolan and Sam O’Leary in the second settled things and UCD won 4-0.
Laura Wilson the ladies’ club captain was delighted with the way in which her team went about the competition, ”there were great performances throughout the tournament with lots of goals, lots of very good goals.” The fact that they could pull off the double with the men “made it all the sweeter.”
“It’s our first intervarsity win in thirteen years so it’s great that we could get that off our backs” explained men’s captain Shane Nolan. “I’m just so happy for all the lads and all the coaches after all the hard work we put in.” He was also positive about the knock-on effect such a win will have on the team, “it’s revitalised our season and our confidence.” Indeed, their first game back in the Leinster League on Saturday was a 7-2 victory, their first of the campaign, against Clontarf. “That was all due to winning the varsities.”