Rebel Shield 2017: Review

The Bombers topped off what proved to be the club’s most successful year by retaining the Rebel Shield in a gritty performance against a strong Leeside Lions side down at the Mardyke. The Lions, who themselves had placed joint third in their debut in the European Champions League in Amsterdam a couple of weeks ago, showed their vast experience in the opening exchanges of the game. However, the College’s youth and fitness proved to be a key factor in the win as performances from on and off the bench ensured that the UCC retained the Rebel Shield, a feat never achieved in the history of the club.

The Leeside Lions were looking to bounce back from their narrow defeat at the hands of UCC in the first leg of the Rebel Shield in November. The Lions had a strong and fast start which helped them to dominate the majority of the opening exchanges in the first quarter. The College fought back with scores coming from marquee forward Shane O’Sullivan, and good work from captains Oisin Collins and Paul Murphy at the back ensured that the Bombers were able to finish the Second Quarter with a narrow lead.

Fitness proved to key in this tight game, as James Galvin, Peter Traynor, and Kevin O’Sullivan worked tirelessly in the middle to ensure that a steady supply of ball was provided for the Bombers’ forward line. The Leeside Lions however showed their vast experience and quality to keep the score board ticking over into the forth quarter. Nevertheless UCC proved to be too strong in the final stages of the match and closed the game out to win the Rebel Shield for only the second time in the club’s history. Paul Murphy’s solid display in the backline proved to vital to the College’s success, with the Captain picking up Best on Ground in a historic day for the UCC Bombers.

In what has been a historical year in the Club’s history, the Bombers hosted and won this year’s Fitzpatrick Cup and this achievement laid the foundations for a strong showing in the Second Leg of the Rebel Shield. 2017 has been quite an eventful year for UCC Australian Rules, and the future looks bright as the majority of the Bombers will be representing UCC in this year’s ARFLI Premiership with our sister club, the Leeside Lions. From all of us here at Bombers’ HQ, we’d like to thank all the players, our coaches Chris and Eoin Sull, our sponsors Bank of Ireland, AFL Europe for letting us host the Fitzpatrick Cup on leeside, University College Cork and the staff at the farm, as well as those who helped with our preparation for the Fitz, for making 2017 such a memorable year.