Mary I v UCC
MIC have had a very successful championship campaign with only a single loss in their Group to current semi-finalists and 2016 finalists UL. In their opening round, the Limerick based college scraped a one point win over UCD on home turf to gain their first points before the Christmas break. The Camogie stronghold University Limerick were next on the agenda for MIC. A 3-14 to 1-8 loss to the 2014 Ashbourne Champions was their only loss in the championship games as they turned their focus to University Ulster Jordanstown.
Determined to grasp a Quarter-Final spot, MIC overcame UUJ with ease with 22 point victory and a quarter-final spot against Ashbourne hosts NUIG. MIC edged out a tough NUIG side with just three points for their semi-final position. Close to home Limerick stars Rebecca Delee, Leanne Browne and Caoimhe Costello are set to cause a lot of trouble in the middle while Galway’s Laura Mitchell is dangerous on the edge of the square.
UCC on revenge from last year’s semi-final defeat, UUC topped their group with wins over NUIG, DCU and Ashbourne 2015 Champions WIT. The return of Mackey sisters Pamela and Katrina have boosted UCC along with super performances from Orla Cronin and Niamh Rockett on the full forward line create a force to be reckoned with. UCC have yet to be challenged in this competition, they lead the majority of the game against WIT but a late push from the champions wasn’t good enough to secure a win.
MIC face a daunting task on Saturday afternoon in the top tier of the third level championship against established Ashbourne side UCC, but the Liemrick College will be hoping for an upset. UCC on the other hand will be hoping to bring the Ashbourne Cup back to UCC for the first time since 2002.
One of the more famous Ashbourne finals took place in 2013, with UL and WIT playing into two periods of extra time with eventually resulted in a 3-13 to 2-15 win for the South East side. That same year WIT were crowned Ashbourne Champions for the fifth time in a row with UCD last winning the cup five times in a row in the 1980’s.
UL, hungry for revenge claimed the bragging rights of the 2014 encounter in Queen’s University Belfast breaking WIT streak and scraping a one point win to bring the Ashbourne Cup to the South East for the first time since 2006.
The 2015/2016 Division 1 league draw seen the adversaries pitted against each other in the second round. UL, who were later crowned Division 1 champions comfortably dismissed WIT on a scoreline of 2-14 to 1-12. The championship draw kept these sides apart as UL topped their group beating MIC, UCD and UUJ to book their semi-final spot with at least 12 points to spare in each game.
On the other side of the competition WIT overcame UUJ in their quarter-final last Thursday. Late in November WIT defeated DCU comfortably in WIT in wet and windy conditions by 22 points. Round two of the group gave WIT quite a scare against NUIG as they somehow managed to fine the net twice in the final five minutes to seal their second victory. Their final game to register a semi-final spot was against Cork side UCC. UCC started with a strong start leading the game 1-2 to 0-1 with 14 mins played in extremely windy conditions. A 1-6 to 0-2 lead at the break left it all to play for as WIT hit 1-4 in the second half to narrow the gap but it was too late for the defenders as they hit the final four scores of the game in a row. WIT defeated UUJ with ease in UUJ.
Looking forward to this weekend, UL’s Sarah Fryday, Laura McMahon and Patrice Diggin are all stars to watch for this weekend’s game. In their Blue, White and Red the return of Sarah Anne Fitzgerald for WIT along with Miriam Walsh, Laura Treacy and Michelle Nolan will spark trouble for UL. As past experiences have proven, this game is set to be a tight affair