For the senior men’s football team, the first half of the season can be considered largely disappointing. Led by former ‘All Star’ footballer of the year Jack McCaffrey UCD finished top of their Ryan Cup group, with victories over DIT, St Patrick’s College and IT Carlow. The ‘Sigerson’ team would have expected to go further than the quarter finals but ultimately, they would not. Instead, Tralee IT would cause a huge shock by beating UCD (the current Ryan Cup and Sigerson Cup holders) on a score line of 0-15 to 1-13.
The team would be hugely disappointed to not retain their title. However, this January UCD would bounce back to beat Dublin in the O’Byrne Cup . It was the first time that Dublin had been defeated in a year. Although this victory was historic, it was not enough for UCD to qualify for the knockout stages of the O’Byrne Cup. For the Sigerson team, positives can be gathered but going into the championship a lot more will be needed if UCD will retain the Sigerson Cup.
Following on from the ‘Sigerson’ team, is the senior men’s hurling team. Two draws against DCU and St Patrick’s College compounded with a loss to Ulster University meant, the hurlers were limply knocked out of the group stages with no victories. Not much improvement would be made in the Walsh Cup where heavy defeats to Dublin and Wexford would be enough to end any hopes of progression. There would be little consolation in a victory over Carlow. Ultimately, the season so far has been a failure for the Fitzgibbon Cup team.
The intermediate football team had a semi-final spot in their hands until DIT annihilated IT Carlow 9-26 to 1-3 meaning DIT would go through having a better points difference to that of UCD. DIT had seven points to spare in the race for the semi-final spot over UCD. In the first game of the group, UCD played out a 0-10 points apiece draw against DIT. This was followed up by two comprehensive victories against IT Carlow and GMIT. However, it would not be enough as DIT progressed ahead of them. A disappointing end to a promising and hopeful league campaign for the ‘Inters’.
For their counterparts in hurling, it was an even worse scenario. Two concessions for their opponents NUIG and GMIT, and one victory due to a walkover against Maynooth left UCD sitting 3rd in the table, unable to qualify for the knockout stages.
The junior football team had a disappointing league campaign. A heavy defeat away to NUIG, followed up by a defining loss to long-time rivals Trinity College meant progression from the group was impossible. A victory in the final group game away to DCU was just a consolation. Another poor league campaign from a UCD team left a lot to be desired.
In contrast, the junior hurlers salvaged some pride for UCD by claiming the Division 3 title with victory over IT Sligo in the final on a score line of 0-17 to 0-18. It started with a defeat to IT Sligo in the group stage but wins against NUIG and GMIT Letterfrack led UCD to the quarterfinals where they would face IT Tallaght. UCD would be too good for the Tallaght side running out comprehensive victors by 3-25 to 0-5. UCD would move onto Ulster University Magee in the semi-finals resulting in a score line of 6-21 to 1-2. This would end with a final against IT Sligo. The junior hurlers ended the drought that surrounded the rest of the teams in UCD.
The Junior ‘B’ football team had a disappointing year too. Losing to the Cadets, followed up by victories over Inchicore, Portlaoise IFE and Carlow IFE. However, a walkover in the quarter-finals to IT Tralee would end any hopes of bringing home a trophy to UCD.
For the Freshers, it was a sub-par year. In terms of football, out of the three representative sides only the ‘C’ team made it out of the group, however, they would face a stronger NUIG team in the semi-finals. For the hurlers, it was much of the same story as both teams failed to progress to the semi-finals.
The Ashbourne Cup team had a run to the semi-finals for the Division 1 title. However, their success was to be halted by a determined DIT side on a score line of 1-11 to 0-13. UCD had led at halftime by three points, however a last-minute goal would end any hopes of winning the Senior Ladies Camogie Division 1 title. In the first round of the Ashbourne Cup, UCD were well-beaten by Waterford IT. Whilst the Intermediate Camogie side would bow out to St Patrick’s College in the quarter finals.
The O’Connor Cup side would make it to the final against University of Limerick in the Senior Ladies Division 1 league. However, UL would dictate the tight encounter. UCD could never seem to gain the lead which would eventually result in a 1-12 to 1-06 loss. It was a disheartening end to a promising league campaign. The juniors and inters would also have disappointing results throughout the league ending with both being knocked out.
Overall, there were some incredibly poor results from most teams. Each team will be hoping their form can be improved to for the championship. Last year marked the first UCD Sigerson cup win 1996 for the GAA senior men’s footballing side, but the side will need to rally together to mount a serious defence of their hard-earned silverware last year.
Niall Yore | Sports Writer