All-Ireland Delight for UCD Medicine Connections
Not for the first time, we were delighted and proud to support many UCD Medicine connections at the business end of this year’s All-Ireland Gaelic Football Championship. For our overseas visitors, you don’t really understand the rich tapestry of Irish-ness until you’ve witnessed an All-Ireland Final at Croke Park.
This year saw teams from Dublin and Mayo contest the decider in both the Men’s and Ladies’ Senior Football Championship.
Going for their third All-Ireland title in a row, the Dublin Men’s Senior Football team featured two of our students whereas the Dublin Ladies GAA team who were aiming to end a run of three successive final defeats included a recent alumna of the School.
Mayo last lifted the Sam Maguire in 1951 with a famous flying Doctor, two-time All Ireland winner, Dr Pádraig Carney. So we were hoping that our young doctors-in-training would be in flying form as they appeared in the Men’s Final on Sunday 27th September 2017. Jack McCaffrey (UCD Medicine Stage 5) and Michael Fitzsimons (UCD Graduate Entry Medicine Stage 3) were bidding for their third and fifth Celtic Crosses respectively as Dublin aimed for a third All-Ireland Senior Football Championship in a row. Young Footballer of the Year in 2013 and Footballer of the Year in 2015, Jack’s third final appearance ended pre-maturely through injury. Having been Man-of-the-Match in the 2016 Final, Mick Fitzsimons again played a pivotal role in defence as the UCD Physiotherapy graduate used all his experience to help the Dubs to a narrow victory.
UCD Medicine alumni Mr Kiaran O'Malley (UCD MMedSc 1992 ; MCh 2002), consultant urologist at the Mater Hospital and Dr Diarmuid Smith (UCD Medicine 1994, MD 2003) consultant in endocrinology and internal medicine at Beaumont Hospital provided the medical support as team doctors for the Dublin squad, who feature a host of other UCD connections including Con O'Callaghan, Paul Mannion and Brian Fenton. In dramatic fashion, Dublin prevailed with a late free kick on a score line of Dublin 1-17 to 1-16 Mayo in front of a full house at Croke Park.
Our interest that day didn’t end there however with Fiachra Clifford (UCD Medicine Stage 1) performing strongly for Kerry in their victory over Derry in the Minor Football Final in which his brother David excelled by scoring 4-4 in a rout that ended Kerry 6-17 to 1-08 Derry.
The following weekend it was the turn of the Dublin Ladies GAA side to take on Mayo in an All-Ireland Final against Mayo. The Dublin Ladies Senior GAA team had been in blistering form as they stormed into their fourth successive final at Croke Park.
The team included Dr Noelle Healy (UCD Medicine 2015), anaesthetist at Beaumont Hospital who was hoping to not extend her three-in-a-row runners up record against a Mayo side that featured All Ireland medallists Cora Staunton and Yvonne Byrne.
The St Brigid’s forward had been in spectacular form in the run up to the final scoring 2-03 against Westmeath in the Leinster Final, 0-2 against Waterford and 2-0 against Kerry in the All-Ireland semi-final. A winner in Dublin’s only previous All Ireland victory in 2010, the Castleknock anaesthetist was appearing in her sixth All Ireland Senior Ladies Final during a career which have seen her win 8 Leinster titles and 2 All Star awards.
In front of a record-breaking attendance for a women’s sporting event in Europe this year, she gave a Player-of-the-Match performance with powerful, purposeful running throughout. The strength, skill and determination that she and her Dublin team mates showed saw them pull away in the final quarter to claim the Brendan Martin Cup with a score line of Dublin 4-11 to 0-11 Mayo.
Not Again, Mayo
Although the Mayo Ladies have tasted victory in four of their seven All-Ireland Finals and lifted the trophy in 2002 and 2003, it is hard not to feel for the people of Mayo who have waited since 1951 for a Men’s Senior All-Ireland win. Incidentally, UCD Medicine can also claim a connection to that double-winning side. Dr Anne Barbara Mongey (UCD Lecturer in Clinical Medicine) is the daughter of the late Éamonn Mongey, who in addition to winning two All-Ireland medals also won two National League medals with Mayo and a Railway Cup medal with Connacht.
With so many people involved in Irish sport, it is entirely possible that we’ve missed other UCD Medicine connections. If you do know of others, please let us know so that we can acknowledge their contributions.