Fitzpatrick Cup 2018 – Tournament Review
A mixture of rain, wind, hail and sunshine met participants at the 5th Fitzpatrick Cup hosted by the University College Cork (UCC) on Saturday. ‘The Farm’ played hosted to the annual universities tournament for the second year running in what proved a typically mild February day in Ireland.
11 teams made the journey to this year’s Fitz with 8 men’s and 3 women’s varsity teams battling it to be crowned university champions of Europe.
The Group Stages
3 women’s teams took to the field at the start of this year’s Fitz with defending champions, UCC, Cambridge and a Cork Mixed side competing in a round-robin to start the day off.
UCC won both their games convincingly to book their place in the final and lined up against an inexperienced but enthusiastic Cambridge side. Despite finishing second after group stages, Cork Mixed weren’t eligible for the finals due to non-university students playing.
Women’s Pool Standings
- Mixed Cork*
Two pools of 4 took to field in the men’s tournament. The competition proved fierce and the level was above that of previous years. New comers, CIT Saints, went through Pool A undefeated with English counter-parts Birmingham and Cambridge finishing 2nd and 3rd respectively after a thrilling final pool game between the two determined their placings. Maynooth battled hard but couldn’t get a win in the pool games but certainly showed improvement on previous years.
Pool A Standings
Pool B saw defending champions UCC1 go through undefeated but had some close games with the Mixed universities and their grand final opponents from last year, UCC2. Mixed universities finished 2nd with UCC2 finishing a close 3rd. Dublin universities in their first tournament toiled hard but couldn’t register a win.
Pool B Standings
- Mixed Universities
- Dublin Universities
For the women it was defending champions, UCC, taking on Cambridge. UCC jumped out of the blocks early and piled on a massive 46-points in the opening half. Making it next to impossible for the visiting Cambridge side to claw back the deficit.
The 2nd half started positively for Cambridge with a quick centre clearance and forward foray but unfortunately did not register for a score. Despite a much stronger showing in the 2nd half, UCC were too powerful and continued to score at will reclaiming their title with a convincing 76-0 score line.
In a consolation for Cambridge the women’s player of the tournament went to Catherine Ludden in an amazing display across her three matches.
The men’s final series was a tantalizing prospect for the crowd with CIT taking on Mixed Universities and UCC1 taking on Birmingham.
In the first semi-final CIT held control for the majority of the game and kept the Mixed side at arm’s length to run out 34-15 winners and booked their place in the final at their first Fitzpatrick Cup.
The second semi-final pitted the two most decorated Fitzpatrick Cup sides in history against one another with UCC1 taking on Birmingham. In a fiery game with a seesawing score line it was UCC1 who edged in front in the 2nd half and just held on to victory by 8-points.
The men’s final was an all Cork affair with UCC1 looking to reclaim their crown and CIT hoping to make it the perfect debut tournament. The teams went score for score in the opening half and went into halftime tied at 2 goals, 2 behinds a piece. The defending champions jumped out of the blocks in the second half with two quick goals and from then on controlled the game to run out 38 to 21-point victors.
The men’s player of the tournament went to CIT captain, Paul Murphy.
The Golden Whistle for umpire of the tournament went to Brent Morrison.
A special mention to all the volunteers and umpires who made the day possible in what was at times very testing conditions.
We look forward to the 6th edition of the Fitzpatrick Cup in 2019!