Contributed by: Wesley Hull
In recent years, the Fitzpatrick Cup has been owned by Cork’s UCC Bombers. Not only have they had some home ground advantage, they have simply been the best team – men’s and women’s. This year, travelling to Oxford, will challenge their domination, but according to this report from www.afleurope.org the Bombers and Crusaders are up for that challenge.
From AFL Europe: UCC aiming to win Fitzpatrick Cup again.
Looking to win the Fitzpatrick Cup again, UCC knows they will be facing tough competition with this year’s edition of the tournament being played on English soil.
The UCC men’s side is looking to record a three-peat, while the women’s side, the UCC Crusaders, are looking to win their fourth Fitzpatrick Cup in a row.
In recent times, the UCC men’s squad have been strong enough to field two teams, and this year will be no different with a UCC1 and UCC2 showing their strength in depth at the tournament.
For the women’s side, they remain well balanced according to coach Marie Keating, a former Sydney University and New South Wales AFL player from Ireland.
Her knowledge and experience in the game will be a massive asset to the UCC Crusaders team.
“UCC Crusaders have had some very good players graduate and move away from Cork over the last 2 years so they will be a big loss but we are lucky that the vast majority of players we have this year have managed to stay relatively injury free and available to travel to the Fitzpatrick Cup,” Marie said.
The women’s team have dominated in their competition since the inaugural women’s tournament in 2016, and they will look to continue that form this year. However, they know that playing in Oxford offers a different challenge, with Marie saying they are expecting the English universities, in particular, to be stronger this year with home advantage.
Build up for the women’s team has been going well for many players, thanks to the first edition of the AFL Ireland Women’s Premiership. Cork reached the final, which meant giving some valuable game time and match day exposure to a few of the newer faces within the squad.
As a whole, the women’s side is a balanced line-up. “There is great strength down the spine of the team, with established players like co-captains Siobhan O’Donnell and Claire Stephenson, as well as Mary Hurley, having played fantastically in the AFL Ireland Women’s Premiership”, Marie said.
The men also have a strong team that will consider themselves as favourites to win the Cup again but will face stiff opposition in English conditions.
Training has stepped for UCC since the Christmas break and they are expecting to reach the tournament in top form, with the chance of that momentum taking them deep into the finals.
As is the case with reigning premiers though, everyone wants to beat the best so both men’s and women’s squads will have to be at their best once again against impressive competition.
The original story from AFL Europe can be found at: https://afleurope.org/ucc-aiming-to-w...cup-again/
World Footy News