Spotlight On Sport

We reflect on another stellar UCC sporting year in which our senior Gaelic footballers reclaimed Sigerson Cup glory, our rowers continued their winning streak at home and abroad, and our kickboxers and powerlifters put their clubs on the map. 

22 Jun 2023

Gaelic football

Our senior Gaelic footballers brought Sigerson glory back to UCC, claiming victory over UL in a thrilling and at times nail-biting final in February. The win brought UCC’s Sigerson title tally up to an impressive 24. Claiming coveted spots on the Sigerson All Star Team for 2022–23 were UCC’s Dylan Foley, Daniel O’Mahony, Shane Merritt, Ruairí Murphy, Mark Cronin and Cathail O’Mahony.



The college year got off to a perfect start for UCC at the World Rowing Championships in Račice, Czech Republic (September 2022), with Paul O’Donovan and alumnus Fintan McCarthy crowned Lightweight Men’s Double Sculls champions, and Aoife Casey and Margaret Cremen taking third place in the women’s category. Tara Hanlon and John Kearney claimed silver in the Women’s Double Sculls ‘B’ Final and Men’s Four ‘B’ Final, respectively, with UCC’s head coach Sanita Puspure taking third place in the Women’s Double Sculls.

That success continued across the year at several competitions, with UCC rowers collectively taking home an astonishing 18 first-place, 14 second-place and nine third-place finishes in the Skibbereen, Muckross, Shandon and Cork Head of the River competitions as well as the University Championships. This was topped off with second-place finishes from Patrick Aherne and Clíodhna Nolan at the Indoor National Rowing Championships (February 2023).



Michelle O’Driscoll made an impressive mark on the equestrian scene this year with her performances at the Student Riding National Cup World Finals in Belgium (December 2022). As well as claiming overall victory with Team Ireland in the show jumping category, Michelle came home with the title of Individual Combined World Champion – thus making her a double world champion. She also claimed third place in the individual show jumping category. Following her success at the competition, Michelle received the award of ‘Best Newbie’ from the World University Equestrian Federation for her sportsmanship and contribution to the sport.



It was a stellar year for UCC Sailing, with teams bringing home silverware across the board. Not only did the club win the Intervarsities 2022–23, but they were also victorious in the Irish Student Yachting Championship (April 2023), with Gabrielle Hogan and Tarah Fleming named ‘Crew of the Year’, and Robbie Dwyer named ‘Captain of the Year’. UCC was also well represented on Team Ireland at the Irish Universities Sailing Association vs British Universities Sailing Association Ride’r Cup – Johnny Durcan, Tarah Fleming, Rosa Lyden, Michael Carroll, Micheál Ó Súilleabháin, Sally O’Flynn and Gabrielle Hogan all formed part of the winning Irish cohort. And after an impressive performance at the Irish Universities Sailing Association Easterns in Killaloe, UCC Sailing became the only college club to have four teams in the Gold Fleet.



Conor McGlinchey and Taylor Heffernan put UCC Kickboxing on the map for 2022–23, enjoying major success on the national and world stages.

Kildare man Conor, a current UCC Sports Scholar, was presented with UCC’s Overall Sports Star Award for his achievements across the year. As a three-time gold medallist at last year’s Hungarian Open (June 2022), Conor went on to come second at the European Championships in Turkey (November 2022) as part of Team Ireland, repeating silver success at the Austrian Open (March 2023) in two categories. Conor is the current All-Ireland champion in his weight category (-84kg) and is set to compete in the European University Sports Association Games (July 2023). He recently came a step closer to achieving his dream of representing Ireland at the Olympic Games 2028, having been selected as one of only eight athletes to join the Olympic Kickboxing Federation training squad.

Taylor Heffernan, meanwhile, opened 2023 with a bang, winning both his categories in the New Year Open before going on to win the lightweight contact and kick-light divisions at the Elite Seniors and Masters All-Ireland Championships in Dublin (March 2023). He then added three gold and three bronze to his medal tally at the Athens Challenge WAKO European Cup (April 2023) and Austrian Classics WAKO World Cup (March 2023), respectively. Having secured his place on the 2023 National Kickboxing Team, Taylor will compete at the WAKO World Championships later this year.


Aussie Rules

It was a strong year for UCC Aussie Rules at both international and club level. The Irish men’s and women’s teams were crowned European champions (October 2022), beating France and Great Britain, respectively. UCC was well represented on both teams through Paul Allen and George Dwyer, and Sorcha Herlihy, Caroline Condon and Ciara Corbett.

That success carried through to the club’s performance at the Intervarsities in Cardiff (February 2023), with both the UCC Bombers and UCC Crusaders crowned Fitzpatrick Cup champions. The women’s team were also victorious over local rivals MTU in the Rebel Shield, in April; while Caroline Condon, Ciara Corbett and Sorcha Herlihy were part of the Cork Vikings team that won the 2023 AFL Europe Champions League in May.



This year’s hockey MVPs were the senior women’s team, who were crowned Munster Senior Cup winners on St Patrick’s Day. The team went on to retain their EY Hockey League 2 status for the coming academic year, and were also runners-up in the Munster Senior League. Among those representing the skull and crossbones was Caoimhe Perdue, Quercus Sports Scholar and UCC Sports Award recipient for 2022–23, who has been making waves with her performances on the Irish Senior Women’s Hockey Team.



UCC’s powerlifters really made their mark this year, with several setting new records. Mia Kovacs enjoyed major success at the European Powerlifting Federation Junior Classic European Championships (December 2023), taking home two junior national records in the total and deadlift categories. Highlights from the Junior National Championships (April 2023) included gold and bronze placings for Adam Duane and Eimear Collier, respectively, while Leah Phillips and Diarmuid O’Sullivan claimed second place at the Powerlifting Intervarsities in the same month.



There were celebrations for the UCC women’s premier team, who were crowned intervarsity champions for the first time since 2011 with a victory over the University of Limerick in the final. The team did the skull and crossbones proud, with Lauren Homan awarded MVP, and Annaliese Murphy and Amy Dooley receiving All Stars for their performances in the final. The team, who were unfortunately defeated in the league finals, were named ‘Team of the Year’ at the UCC Sports Star Awards.



The 150-year anniversary celebrations brought luck to UCC RFC in 2022–23 – not only did the club retain AIL Division 1B status, but the UCC women’s team were crowned SSI Tier 2 Cup winners. Elsewhere, UCC Bulldogs (Junior 3’s) made theirs a double victory, winning both the SSI Tier 2 Cup and League.

Several UCC students made their mark on the club and international scenes this year. Edwin Edogbo made his competitive Munster senior rugby debut in the United Rugby Championship (September 2022), joining fellow UCC students Scott Buckley and Alex Kendellan; while Danny Sheahan and Jacob Sheahan were part of the Ireland U-20 squad who were crowned Grand Slam champions in 2023.


Table tennis

Paddy Vaughan continued his winning streak this year, forming part of the Irish Para Table Tennis team who competed in the Halton Para Grand Prix in Liverpool (September 2022) and taking home gold in the Class 7 category as well as silver in the open competition. He was also a member of the UCC Table Tennis team that competed in the Irish Colleges Table Tennis League (November 2022) and won all their matches. Paddy went on to win gold in the Munster Senior Para Open and silver at the Malmo Open (both February 2023), before claiming the Senior National Para title and the National Table Tennis Championships in Maynooth (April 2023).

There were medals aplenty at the Table Tennis Intervarsities in February, with the ladies’ team coming in second, Thuy Linh Cashman claiming silver in the ladies’ single event, and Bharat Bhrushan winning the men’s plate. The successful streak continued to the Colleges League Division 1 final in April, with the UCC team – consisting of Thuy Linh Cashman, Chetain Rai and Mayank Srivastava – winning silver.


For the latest sports news and stories, head to the dedicated UCC Sport website.

Photography: UCC Sport

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