20 May 2016
At the Bank of Ireland UCD Athletic Union Council Sport Awards ceremony yesterday evening in the UCD Student Centre, over 500 students from over 30 different sports clubs were honoured for their sporting achievements on behalf of the University over the last twelve months.
At the ceremony, which was presented by RTE’s Darragh Maloney, the “Dr. Tony O’Neill Sportsperson of the Year”, was shared by two outstanding Irish sports stars. In recognition of his first senior international cap and many other sporting accolades including Laya Healthcare Young Player of the Year Award at the Leinster Awards, IRUPA Nevin Spence Young Player of the Year and named a member of the Guinness PRO12 2015/2016 Dream Team, UCD Rugby player Josh Van Der Flier was named the 2015/2016 Sports Person of the Year. Josh shared the stage on the night with the UCD Gaelic Football Senior men’s captain Jack McCaffrey. Jack captained the UCD team to the Sigerson Cup title after a wait of 20 years. Over the past twelve months Jack has been outstanding at College, Club and County level earning widespread recognition for his performances for Dublin both in the Allianz Football League and All Ireland Championship. Jack was also named GAA / GPA Player of the Year and received a GAA/GPA All Star Award.
The “Elite Team of the Year” award was presented to the Men’s Hockey first team following their 2-1 over Cookstown in the EY Irish Hockey League (EYHL) playoff finals. This win gained a brilliant promotion for the club and secured a place in the EYHL for next season. It has been a fantastic year for men’s hockey in Ireland as the men’s Irish team qualified for Rio for the first time since 1908. On the Irish team is UCD student Kirk Shimmins and UCD graduate Shane O’Donoghue.
The UCD Men’s Soccer Club was named the “Elite Club of the Year” in recognition of their outstanding competitive success at all levels. In addition to the College team’s dominance of intervarsity competition, the Airtricity league team made sporting history as the team’s tenacious display earned them a remarkable passage to the second round of the Europa League following their win against F91 Dudelange at the Stade Jos Nosbaum, Luxembourg.
The College soccer team then completed the varsity double winning both the Collingwood and the Harding Cup against Limerick and DCU respectively. This was UCD’s 43rdCollingwood win since the competition was first founded in 1914.
In terms of other award winners on the night, Alice O’Callaghan from UCD Ladies Rugby Club was named as the “Gerry Horkan Club Administrator of the Year”. The “David O’Connor Memorial Medal” was presented to Karate athlete Jack Roche and the “Dr. Padraic Conway Memorial Medal” was presented to the GAA Club’s Ryan Wylie. The Women’s Volleyball team was named the “Varsity Team of the Year”.
Following a phenomenal year for GAA in UCD, the Club was named the “Varsity Club of the Year”. This was in recognition for the Men’s Senior Football team claiming the prestigious Sigerson Cup for the first time in 20 years along with the Senior Ladies claiming the O’Connor Cup for the first time since 2006. The club also celebrated the success of the Intermediate Hurlers, Junior Hurlers and Junior Footballs who all claimed their respective All Ireland titles. Their success this year was a fitting tribute to the late UCD GAA Development Officer Dave Billings.
With the Olympic Games only 77 days away, a special presentation was made on the night by the UCD President Prof. Andrew Deeks to three UCD club members who have all qualified for this years games in Rio.
Present on the night were Athletes Mark English, Ciara Mageean and Ciara Everard. Rowings recent European Gold medalist Paul O’Donovan and World Cup Modern Pentathlon gold medalist Arthur Lanigan O’Keeffe were unable to attend due to training commitments but were also honoured on the night.
A further 5 students and graduates have qualified for Rio, namely Kirk Shimmins (hockey), Shane O’Donoghue (hockey), Claire Lambe (Rowing) and Annalise Murphy (Sailing). With the Men’s and Women’s Rugby 7’s coming up this summer, where UCD is delighted to have been chosen as the hosts for the women’s tournament, there is potential to add to this prestigious list.
Commenting on the sporting achievements the UCD President, Prof. Andrew Deeks, said that “Sport is an integral part student life at UCD and the fact that we have so many students from so many clubs are not only triumphant at Intervarsity level, but many others taking on the cream of competition nationally and internationally, underlines the quality of our sportsmen and women”.
Georgina Dwyer; Dublin, 19th May 2016