Mary Immaculate College Sporting Year
Well, it’s been a wonderful year for all the teams that represented Mary Immaculate College. This year, we have had everything from teams who competed and showed immense pride in the jersey of the college to teams who beat all opposition to others who just went out and played the sport they love and enjoy.
It all started on the 6th October when the Senior Hurlers travelled across to Carlow to play Carlow I.T. in the first game of the league. The hurlers lost by a single point but we knew after the game that we had gotten in a number of high quality freshers and that we had a long and hopefully successful year in store. Next up for the hurlers came two wins over Cork Colleges F.E. and Tipperary Institute. This left a final game against Tralee I.T. They were also beaten and the senior hurlers qualified for a league semi-final against St. Pats in Portlaoise. While Mary I. lost that game, the league had provided excellent preparation for the Championship. In the first round, all the tough games in the league proved useful when it took extra time to defeat Athlone I.T. in a game that was an exhibition of all that is great and wonderful about the game of hurling. Next came D.C.U who were also beaten. This qualified the team for the Ryan Cup weekend and they were drawn to play Carlow I.T. in the semi-final. This was another wonderful game and there was absolutely nothing between the teams but, unfortunately, Mary I. just lost out after extra time by 2 points. One positive point to come out of the defeat was the valuable experience gained by the large contingent of freshers on the senior panel. This experience would prove invaluable to the fresher team later in the year.
The fresher hurlers had a long and very successful year and gave the college its second All-Ireland of the year. Before Christmas, they competed in the league where they lost two games and won three. While this wasn’t good enough to qualify for the later stages of the league they did show sign’s of being a very competitive team. The experience of playing senior toughened them up and laid the foundations of an excellent team spirit. The championship began with a win against L.I.T. Next up were U.C.D. which gave Mary I. two wins in a row. The freshers then moved on to the semi-final against W.I.T. but the team showed no fear and also won this game and qualified for the All-Ireland final against Sligo I.T. This proved to be a much harder game than the others but Mary I. showed grit and determination and won through. There were scenes of joy at the final whistle as the team had proved their potential.
The senior footballers didn’t quite have the same amount of success but they did compete with honour. The league campaign didn’t go so well with Mary I. only winning two games but they saved their best performance for the championship against Inchicore College where they were extremely unlucky to lose by four points after extra time in the first round. The fresher footballers played two games in their league campaign but, unfortunately, it was not meant to be and only marginally lost out. In the championship they qualified for the quarter finals and were defeated by Dundalk I.T.
The success story from the year was the Camogie team winning the Ashbourne Shield. In doing this, the ladies defeated two major colleges, N.U.I.G. in the semi-final and C.I.T. in the final. This was a massive achievement for Mary Immaculate College. To put it into context, Mary I. has a student population of about 2500 students. C.I.T. is twice that while N.U.I.G. is nearly five times the size. Mary I. camogie team defeated both of these colleges’ first teams and won the shield for the College for the first time.
Another success story from the year was the ladies basketball team who won the Limerick District league by remaining undefeated throughout their league campaign. This was quite an achievement as they played 8 tough matches in total and beat St. Colms national league team in the final to take the cup for the first time.
Mary I. athletics team also competed excellently in the Irish Universities Track and Field Championship and came home with a haul of 8 medals. Only 8 athletes took part for Mary I. on the day and to receive 8 medals was a huge reward for their effort and determination.
Moving on, we have the soccer teams both women’s and men’s. Both of these teams had excellent years and while they might not have won any silverware both came agonisingly close. The women’s team had an excellent league where they beat colleges the size of G.M.I.T., Garda College and U.L. but just lost out in the league decider to a very strong Sligo I.T. side. Unfortunately, when their knockout competition came around the team had lost a number of players through college commitments and injuries and failed to qualify. The men’s team acquitted themselves brilliantly in the Crowley Cup where they played three matches over three days and marginally lost out in the final in extra time to the host by a single goal. In the process they had beaten Trinity College in the quarter final, U.C.C.(2) in the semi-final and in the final they lost out to U.C.C.(1). Again, for Mary Immaculate to reach the final of the Crowley Cup and to play against major colleges like U.C.C. proves that we have an extremely talented side of soccer players.
Mary I. ladies footballers also had a very successful year. The fresher team won an All-Ireland shield in a blitz competition in early December beating colleges like Trinity, N.U.I.G., U.L. and Queens on their way to victory. The senior team had a very successful league campaign where they won all of their matches and qualified for a league final against Tralee I.T. They narrowly lost out and in the championship they had an excellent win over Carlow I.T. which was a thrilling affair and which Mary I. eventually won by a point. In the quarter finals they played Athlone I.T. This game was played in the worst possible weather conditions and unfortunately in an extremely close game the girls lost out by a single point.
All in all, I think you’ll agree this was both a very busy and a very successful year for Mary I. in sporting terms. May next year bring the same success!!!
By David Doyle
Lynch Cup Winners 2002
There were scenes of unrestrained jubilation in Belfield on Sunday last when Mary Immaculate College won the Lynch Cup in Ladies Gaelic Football for the second time in the brief history of this prestigious competition. The girls from Mary Immaculate College qualified for the final weekend with a gritty and hard fought victory over Trinity college in the first round. Two comprehensive and easy victories over Jordanstown and UL(2) set up a semi final date with Carlow I.T on Saturday last.
Coach Eoin O’Sullivan knew that the team needed a good start. After weathering an early Carlow storm, the girls settled into their stride and the scores began to come. By half time the game was virtually over with Mary Immaculate leading by 4-6 to 0-2. The Mary I goals came from Charlene Kilroy, Triona Lucey and Sinead Eustace. On the change of ends two goals and a point in the opening two minutes of the second half sealed Carlows fate. Mary I took off five influential players as they ran out comfortable winners on a final score line of Mary I 7-13 Carlow IT 1-2. Mary Immaculate scores came courtesy of Charlene Kilroy (4-4), Triona Lucey (2-4), Sinead Eustace (1-0), Sinead O’Reilly (0-2), Catherine Sexton, Aisling Considine and Anne Currane a point each. This victory set up a mouth watering final between Mary I and the British Champions St.Marys, Strawberry Hill, London.
In the final, in front of a number of partisan supporters who made the long journey up from Limerick, Mary I got off to the best possible start. With barely seven minutes on the clock Mary I lead by 1-2 to 0-0, however, Strawberry Hill came straight back into the game and but for some erratic shooting from their forwards and a wonderful penalty save from Kathy Butler in the Mary I goal, the outcome could have been a whole lot different. When Kathy pulled off yet another point blank save shortly after, the girls settled once more and a well taken point by Blathnaid Wiseman followed by an opportunistic second goal by the in form Charlene Kilroy left the score at 2-3 to 0-1 in favour of Mary I at the half time whistle.
Following the restart Mary I came to the fore with two quick points by Sinead O’Reilly and Charlene Kilroy. With nerves well and truly gone the girls settled into a sleek routine of direct football, led by their captain Donna Frost who controlled the game at centre back, the Mary I team coasted home on a final score line of Mary I 2-09 St Mary’s Strawberry Hill 0-4.
When asked for his thoughts on the performance of his players, Eoin O’Sullivan said “this is the culmination of a lot of hard work since September and the girls truly deserved it”. The team were then presented with the Lynch Cup which interestingly enough is named after Mrs Noreen Lynch, who is deeply involved in GAA within the College.
The full panel of players who competed were, Kathy Butler (Leitrim), Ella O’Shaughnessy (Limerick) Ellen Regan (Cork), Rose Giltenane (Limerick), Michelle Delaney (Galway), Donna Frost (Waterford), Siobhan Buckley (Cork), Sinead Eustace (Clare), Annette Raher (Waterford), Triona Lucey(Cork) Sinead O’Reilly( Cork), Aisling Considine (Clare) Catherine Sexton (Kerry) Charlene Kilroy (Mayo), Blathnaid Wiseman (Cork), Lourda Lillis (Clare), Erica Geraghty (Mayo), Sarah Gavin (Clare), Ann Currane (Clare) Aine Clancy (Clare) Denise Canty (Cork), Nicola Naughton (Cork)