UCC Gaelic Football Alumni reunite in Dingle
On Saturday last, September 12th, a group of former UCC students (along with some guests) dusted down their football boots to line out in the annual 13-a-side Tommy Griffin Over 35s Gaelic Football tournament in Dingle. The decision to enter a team was made when four members of UCC’s 1999 County Championship and Munster Club winning panel (Jim Kennedy, Ian Twiss, Eoin Brosnan and Francis Wallace) began to reminisce about fond memories they had of their college days and in particular the camaraderie and craic that existed amongst a very close-knit group of players. When Twiss suggested that they enter a team in the annual Over 35s tournament, all agreed that it would be an excellent way to re-unite the group and provide them with a chance to relive the glory days.
So began a process of searching for email addresses and contact details and casting the net beyond the Club Championship panel to include former team mates from Sigerson and Freshers campaigns of years gone by. It quickly became apparent that life had moved on from the college days when a group of 39 team-mates was once quickly mobilised to travel to West Kerry for a night out (all staying in the houses of two panel members in Corca Dhuibhne!) and that family considerations, club and county commitments and other factors all conspired to whittle down the number available for selection to fourteen.
UCC were drawn to play in Lispole and opened with a tough assignment against a St. Brendan’s, Killarney side backboned by former UCC students Séamus Moynihan, Eric O’Donoghue and Tom Stack. College started brightly with points from Eoin Brosnan and Linus Burke before strength in numbers began to tell and the alumni of the famous Killarney football nursery managed to take control, going in at half-time 0-5 to 0-2 in front. UCC managed to battle well throughout the second half with Brendan Galvin, Barry Corkery, Jim Kennedy, Keith Moynihan and Brosnan all prominent. However, St. Brendan’s eventually managed to prevail on a score-line of 0-13 to 0-7 and went on to win the tournament for the third year in a row.
This result meant that UCC had to be content with a place in the shield competition and the team was pitted against Feale Rangers (North Kerry) in the semi-final. An injury to team captain Mark Twomey in the opener forced UCC to re-jig the starting line-up for this tie and it took us a bit of time to settle in to the game, as Feale Rangers raced in to a 3-2 to 0-1 lead. Without panicking, however, UCC gradually began reduce the deficit and a well taken goal by guest player Joe Daly saw us going in a half time trailing 3-5 to 1-8. UCC continued to dominate in the early exchanges of the second half (with Brendan Walsh, Fionnán Kelliher, Barry O’Donoghue, Brosnan and Moynihan all showing well) and were back on level terms as the game went in to added time thanks to a well taken equalising free from Billy O’Shea. However, it was Feale Rangers who managed to find the extra gear and won the game with a late point before comfortably coming out on top in the final.
While our lack of players ensured that it was very difficult to re-energise the team’s efforts with replacements, all involved agreed that it was a most enjoyable event and we look forward to returning next year with greater numbers to compete for honours.
UCC panel: E. Brosnan (Kerry), L. Burke (Kerry), B. Corkery (Cork), J. Cunnane (Roscommon), J. Daly (Kerry), B. Galvin (Cork), F. Kelliher (Kerry), G. Kelleher (Cork), J. Kennedy (Kerry), K. Moynihan (Kerry), B. O’Donoghue (Cork), B. O’Shea (Kerry), M. Twomey (Capt., Cork), B. Walsh (Kerry).