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Fitzpatrick Cup

Having played host for the European Championships in August where they successfully defended their title, the Irish were flying high.

This was of course followed by a clean sweep in the two match International Rules series where Ireland demolished Australia by the biggest recorded margin in the competition’s history.

Accommodating the inaugural Fitzpatrick Cup in the last weekend of October was the icing on the cake for what has been a year of celebration for AFL in Ireland.

The cold weather in Dublin didn’t dampen the spirits of the competing university teams at this exciting tournament, which will no doubt add to the growth of the game throughout Europe.

The four competing clubs were Northern Regional College, (NRC) University College Cork (UCC), the newly formed Dublin City University (DCU) and the oldest AFL team outside Australia, Oxford University.

AFL Commission Chairman, Mike Fitzpatrick, whom the tournament is named after, kicked off proceedings at the Opening Ceremony, recalling stories from his time spent at St Johns College and his association with the Oxford University football club.

“I am very humbled that this great tournament is being held in my honour”, stated Fitzpatrick. “I look forward to seeing some potential AFL stars take the field today.”

AFL Europe Chairman, Chris Dow then addressed the special guests ahead of the knockout tournament.

“This is an historic day for AFL in Europe and each participating club”, he said.

The matches got underway just before midday, Saturday, with a fiery encounter between UCC and DCU. The newest team in the competition, DCU, didn’t want to give anything away and appeared dominant early.

UCC’s defence were able to hold off the early onslaught however, through the strength of full back and half back, who provided great run and counter attack into the forward line.

The half time scores reflected a hard fought first half of football by both clubs with UCC holding a slight advantage.

The 40-man squad of UCC had the fitness in the second half but DCU had plenty of spirit. Led by speedster, Caolite O’Baoill, the Dublin based university gave the tournament favourites a scare as they closed to within two goals just before the siren.

A stabilising goal by UCC full forward sealed his side the victory and a spot in the final.

Next up on the Islandbridge ground was the match between NRC and Oxford University.

Big man, Buckets Wolgomot dominated the ruck from the start of the match and Oxford were able to move the ball forward with purpose early on.

Fitzpatrick’s al mater capitalised on their quick movement into the forward line via a strong midfield outfit consisting of ball magnet, Tim Cole and former captain, Trav McLeod.

The game was won with a run of goals in the last quarter.

The siren to signal that the Grand Final was underway, sounded just after 2pm. University College Cork kicked away to an early lead in the opening term, winning most positions on the ground.

Oxford slowed UCC’s momentum in the second quarter through the defensive efforts of Matt McGilvray at Centre Half Back and Genie Duff who saved numerous goals on the last line of defence.

With the rain pouring down in typical Irish style UCC’s superior fitness shone as they piled on several unanswered goals in the third quarter to claim what proved to be a match-winning margin.

Oxford attempted a comeback in the last quarter but to no prevail. As the final siren sounded, the exhausted UCC players threw their hands in the air with elation, in the knowledge that they had etched their names into the history book, and claimed the title of Fitzpatrick Cup champions.

The final scorecard read, University College Cork; 7.11 (53) defeated Oxford University; 3.4 (22)

At the awards ceremony following the match, DCU Chairman and Captain, and Ireland national team midfielder, Caolite O’Baoill, took out the tournament’s Best and Fairest Award.

“It was a great tournament and I’m looking forward to playing in many more,” he stated. “[DCU] will train hard and come back next year ready to go.”

AFL Europe Chairman, Chris Dow was on hand to present the cup to UCC captain PJ O’Brien and coach, Eoin O’Sullivan.

O’Sullivan, who was an instrumental player in Ireland’s 2011 International Cup and 2013 European Championships victories, was elated with his players efforts.

“This is a well deserved victory,” he stated. “The guys worked so hard on and off the field to prepare for this day and to come out and play the way they did is a testament to that endeavour.”

 

Competition photographs from Derek Clarke can be accessed via his Flickr page: http://www.flickr.com/people/47545877@N06/

 

Scores on the day:

Semi Final 1: UCC 8.6 (54) vs DCU 4.7 (31)

Semi Final 2: Oxford 8.4 (52) vs Magherafelt 4.7 (31)

3rd Place Play-off: Magherafelt 7.5 (47) vs DCU 5.3 (33)

Final: UCC 7.11 (53) vs Oxford 3.4 (22)

AFL Europe - Fitzpatrick Cup - NRC Eagles v Oxford (26-10-2013) (21)

Axios Euro Cup Schedule now available

Check out the draw for your nation right here. This promises to be an amazing day of Australian Football and accompanying events in the iconic French region, Bordeaux.

5th Edition of the ANZAC CUP in historic Villers-Bretonneux this weekend

By Thomas Urban

For many years, the city of Villers-Bretonneux has organized a whole week of festivities around the ANZAC Day (historic movies, photos exposition, visit of memorials). In 2009, some Australians with strong connections with the Villers-Bretonneux battle contacted CNFA (governing body of Australian Football in France) to organize a game between French and Australian expats in Europe, with the Australian team to be known as the Aussie Spirit. After 2 years playing on a soccer field, the city of Villers-Bretonneux and CNFA hired a farmers field in front the Memorial. Those involved in the event love to think that this site is where the first Australians played football in France, in 1916. Unfortunately this year the event has reverted back to the towns pitch because of increased cost to rent the field, however  we hope that for the centenary we will be able to return to the oval looking up and the hill and memorial.

CNFA continue to promote Australian Football in France and develop the game in as many cities as possible. France has a relative lack of commemorative sports games except the ANZAC Cup. This provides them the opportunity to make some waves and let people know what Australian Football is and that it is not just an Australian sport but also a French one.

Villers-Bretonneux is a part of Australia: Melbourne Café, Victoria Street, Victoria School… When you arrive in VB there is an unusual feeling you are in France but also in Australia. It is natural that CNFA continue to play a role in the events of the week. As Australia has the MGC, CNFA dreams that VB oval will be the national ground and maybe one day the Essendon v Collingwood game will be played over at the foothills of the memorial.

The score of the game doesn’t matter, the friendship between our 2 countries is the most important. That’s why together we created the ANZAC: to keep the Spirit. Lest we forget.

www.football-australien.fr

ANZAC Cup 2013

2013 sees the 5th edition of the ANZAC Cup on the battlefields of Villers Bretonneux in France. Thanks to the work of previous organisers and the CNFA this event continues to grow into a real highlight on the European calendar. This years event will be held on the 20th April with accommodation for 2 nights, dinner and 2 breakfast’s for under €60. If you want to represent Australia and are an ex-pat currently living or travelling through Europe please send us through an email explaining why this would be a special match for you to play in. Playing abilities are not the focus, we are more interested in personal connections to the area or the armed forces and the ANZAC’s special history. In the tradition of the ANZAC spirit kiwi’s are more than welcome to apply. Please send through your applications to play in a short email to info@afleurope.org by Feb 22nd.