As the historic Ashbourne Cup Centenary weekend fast approaches, we take a look at the four semi-finalists and their past involvement in the prestigious competition.
Waterford IT vs NUI Galway
Waterford IT made history with their first Ashbourne Cup win in 1999 which saw them become the first non-university grade college to claim the title. They have since won the Ashbourne Cup another six times including an impressive stretch of dominance with five in a row from 2009-2013. They were denied their sixth win in a row last year by University of Limerick in a well-contested final. No doubt they will be looking to reclaim the top spot this year and with UL in the other semi-final, they may have a repeat of last year’s final where they can seek revenge. However, NUI Galway are not to be over-looked.
NUI Galway (previously ‘UCG’) were one of the earliest competitors in the Ashbourne Cup along with UCD and UCC and managed to stop UCD’s three in a row effort in 1917. UCG have won the title a total of fifteen times. Although impressive, their early competitor counterparts; UCD and UCC have won it 37 and 31 times respectively. UCG haven’t claimed the title since 1994 and will be chomping at the bit to progress to the final. If UCC and NUIG both manage to progress, we could have a historic final in the Ashbourne Cup’s centenary year.
University of Limerick vs University College Cork
UL were previously known as Thomond College and were frequent winners of the Purcell Cup. However, it wasn’t until 1995 when UL claimed their first Ashbourne Cup title. A decade later they won three in a row from 2004-2006 but were denied in their bid for a fourth in 2007 by UCC in the semi-finals. UL managed to topple a seemingly unbeatable WIT side to claim the Ashbourne Cup last year. They denied WIT a sixth in a row and would love to start a string of consecutive wins themselves.
UCC are arguably the oldest competitors in the Ashbourne Cup as it was them who put out the challenge that was answered by UCD in 1915. However, they were forced to wait until 1919 to claim their first Ashbourne Cup title. Second only to UCD, UCC have won the Ashbourne Cup an impressive 31 times. However, with their last win coming in 2003, this matches the college’s longest ever drought and no doubt they will eager to put an abrupt end to that.