AFL Europe’s premier 9-a-side University tournament is set to take place at Horspath Sports Grounds in Oxford on the 8th of February after the venue was recently confirmed alongside the Oxford University Australian Rules Football Club.
As reigning premiers in both the men’s and women’s, UCC will be looking to retain their premierships from the 2018 tournament after the 2019 edition of the ‘Fitz Cup’ was cancelled due to snow and ice covering the playing fields making it unsafe for Australian football.
Despite the 2019 event being cancelled, Oxford put their hand up to host in 2020 and are ready to show what they have to offer.
“We’re really pleased to get the chance to host again after the unfortunate weather last year. Hosting the Cup is a great opportunity for the club to participate in the broader European footy community, and have the chance to meet and play some great teams!” said Kathryn Leslie, the President of the Oxford Football Club.
Oxford hosted the inaugural National University League’s Grand Final’s earlier this year and will be excited to showcase more fantastic football on their grounds. NUL representative Will Shillibier said Oxford will relish the opportunity to host again.
“Oxford were brilliant hosts of both the men’s and women’s inaugural NUL Grand Finals and I’m sure they will relish the opportunity to host the 2020 Fitzpatrick Cup, especially after the snow robbed them of the chance last year!” said Shillibier.
A combination of university teams from Ireland and England competed in 2018 but the tournament is open to universities from across Europe.
With the second season of the National University League just around the corner in England and Wales, a number of the teams competing at the ‘Fitz Cup’ will have had three rounds to develop their tactics and match fitness as they look to stop the recent dominance of the Irish Universities.
“The Fitzpatrick is a really important part of the season for all teams… Every club has said that they relish the increased competitive opportunities for students, and the Fitzpatrick Cup, alongside both the NUL and the International University Test Match, really demonstrates the growth of the sport across the European footballing landscape,” said Shillibier.
Reigning premiers UCC will no doubt be back again as they look to win a three-peat in both the men’s and women’s, as the tournament hosts from 2017 and 2018 will be looking to show everyone who is the strongest University side in Europe.
It’s set to be another fantastic tournament as Oxford will be joined by a number of teams, showcasing the talent and development of the game at the university level in Europe