Fitzpatrick Cup 2017 Preview

As this year’s Fitzpatrick Cup draws near, the Bombers are looking in fine form and are aiming to impress at the tournament, making its first appearance on the banks of the Lee on 4th February. The Bombers have had very strong showing in the past at the Fitz Cup, with the Cork University triumphing in the inaugural tournament in 2013, and being runners up on 2 separate occasions back in 2015 and 2016. Last year’s run out saw 2 teams take part in Birmingham, both placing 2nd and 4th respectively in the tournament. But with the new year, there brings new hopes and ambitions, as the Bombers will look to use their new crop of recruits along with the old guard as they attempt to build on what has already been a quite successful year so far.

Following the disappointment of last year’s Fitzpatrick Cup losing out to Birmingham in the Grand Final, the Bombers bounced back in style by lifting their first ever Rebel Shield beating Cork’s very own Leeside Lions in the decider. The Lions subsequently went on to participate in the ARFLI competition that summer, with many Bombers playing a vital role in what proved to be a record breaking season for the Leeside Club. Buoyed by the combination of vast experience and youth, the Lions went unbeaten in the regular season, having Carnival wins in Belfast, Galway, and Dublin, Then in the post season Grand Final, the Lions were simply unplayable beating the Belfast Redbacks 104-52. Bombers such as Paul Murphy, Oisin Collins, and Matt Bell stood out in what proved to be a stellar season for both teams.

Come September, some of the old guard had left however the new recruits have managed to fill the vacancies left by them. This could be seen in some of the friendly matches organised throughout the year, with the Bombers having a strong display in Galway with new boy Conor Beasley winning Best on Ground in his first competitive match. There was yet another strong showing in the first leg of this year’s Rebel Shield as James Galvin won Best on Ground in a hard fought battle against the Leeside Lions. The new recruits were also able to get a bit more footy under their belts over the last month or so with ARFLI’s new 7 aside format for the Winter off season exposing players to the game.

With just under 3 weeks to go, UCC will look to capture the Fitzpatrick Cup in College’s inaugural hosting of the tournament. However, the road to the final will be a hard fought affair with last year’s winner Birmingham hoping to keep their hands on the cup, along with a host of teams such as Maynooth, Oxford, Cambridge, and even an Irish Mixed Universities Team looking to spoil the party. As the build up to the tournament intensifies, the Bombers are using the buzz surrounding the Fitz as motivation, aiming to lift the cup at Cork’s very own Mardyke Arena, and to avenge what could have been in last year’s Fitzpatrick Cup Grand Final.