UCC Crusaders ARFLI Draft Cup

ARFLI Women’s Draft Cup 25.11.2017
UCC Crusaders made their first outing of the year last weekend to the inaugural ARFLI Women’s Draft Cup in Dublin. As the only University team present on the day, our girls were up against some very experienced sides, but improved dramatically throughout the competition, and learned a lot from playing against more seasoned players. This was many of the girls first AFL tournament, and the experience will most definitely stand to them as we look forward to the Fitzpatrick Cup in March of next year.
Team: Maeve O’Gorman (Captain), Sarah O’Donovan, Grainne Ryan, Grainne Finn, Lisa Lovell, Aimee Phelan.

UCC Crusaders vs Dublin Angels
The first contest was against the Dublin Angels. After a sluggish start which saw the Angels rack up a few early scores, the Crusaders really got into the game in the second half. Lisa Lovell scored a phenomenal goal to bring UCC back into the game, but unfortunately it wasn’t enough to see off the well drilled Dublin side.
Final Score: UCC Crusaders 6 – 30 Dublin Angels
Best on Ground: Gráinne Ryan, Maeve O’Gorman, Sarah O’Donovan

UCC Crusaders vs North-East Kookaburras
Though the scoreline might indicate otherwise, Crusaders really picked up the intensity in this game, making a lot more tackles and marks and forcing the Kookaburras to play a very fast passing game. The opposition had their scoring boots on, with six players kicking goals from every part of the field. For this tournament, the ball restarted from the goal after a score. This made it difficult for the Crusaders to move the ball up the field as the Kookaburras put in some immense tackles to stop the flow of play from our back line. Even though there were no scores on UCC’s end, there were no dropped heads at the end of the match, as the players were delighted with the improvement from one game to the next.
Final Score: UCC Crusaders 0 – 47 North East Kookaburras
Best on Ground: Grainne Ryan, Maeve O’Gorman, Aimee Phelan

UCC Crusaders vs North West Shamrocks
In the final game of the tournament, UCC took on a very experienced side, with a lot of players involved in the Irish team who won the World Series in Australia earlier this year. Crusaders set out to make sure that our side of the scoreboard wouldn’t be blank at the end of the game. Thanks to some skilled play, Crusaders opened the scoring with a kick which looked on its way to the goal, but tucked just outside the post for a behind. A couple of fantastic tackles meant that the Crusaders created more scoring opportunities in this match than any to date. Unfortunately for us, two unbelievable super-goals from Aisling Gillespie and Rachael McGee along with some other long-range goals meant that the Crusaders would not leave the competition on a winning note. However, tighter marking and well-timed tackles ensured that the Shamrocks had to rely on long kicks towards the goal rather than working it all the way up the field. A very positive end to a great tournament.
Final score: UCC Crusaders 1 – 75 North West Shamrocks
Best on Ground: Maeve O’Gorman, Grainne Ryan, Grainne Finn

UCC Crusaders want to thank all at ARFLI Women’s for inviting us up to the tournament and organising such a well-run event. Though we weren’t up to the standard on the day, the encouragement and support we received from players and coaches alike is a testament to the will to develop and grow the sport here in Ireland. The day ended on a very positive note for UCC, as captain Maeve O’Gorman was named on the team of the tournament, for which massive thanks must be given to our coaches Marie Keating and Rory O’Donnell. Finally, big congratulations to West Clare Waves, who are very deserving Champions of the Draft Cup 2017.