The Collingwood Cup 2013

A look back at UCD's 2013 Collingwood Cup campaign which saw the boys in blue win their their Collingwood in four years and their second in a row


Collingwood Cup Final 1


Just before he boarded the team coach to Belfast on Monday evening, Captain David O'Connor took a look ahead to the tournament

DOC’s Collingwood Preview

Another year, another season, another Collingwood Cup to defend. For many students Semester 2 often revolves around preparing for final exams, thesis submissions and essay deadlines, for myself and a 20 man strong UCD squad, it centres on the Collingwood Cup.


Tonight we will be travelling to Belfast in preparation for our first game of the tournament tomorrow against Mary Immaculate from Limerick, the team we defeated in last year’s final. As with many previous years, UCD travel up to Jordanstown as the tournament favourites, 'the team to beat' and the reigning champions. Not only do we enter the tournament as last defending champions, we enter as being the most successful team in the history of the tournament, a record that we all are determined to extend. We also enter this year’s tournament with a lot to prove and are under no illusions about the task ahead of us.


This season we had a disappointing campaign in the colleges and universities league. As a group we all know that we underperformed in crucial games and so the Collingwood represents an opportunity to redeem ourselves on the pitch and prove once again why we are the best and most successful university in the country.


In many ways preparation for the Collingwood Cup began on our first day of pre season with the Airtricity League squad. Since then, we have been working as a group to get fit and focused not only for the League of Ireland season but also for this tournament.


Doc with cupThe Collingwood squad is unique in that it merges together members of the Leinster Senior League team and the League of Ireland team. One may think that this might present itself as a challenge to the squad as a whole to bond, however this could not be further from the truth. In previous years the merging of Leinster Senior and League of Ireland players has worked tremendously well, everyone gets on incredibly well and to date we have performed very well on the pitch together. Same again this year please!


As always our preparation for the competition when we arrive in Belfast will be of the highest order. Every year both Diarmuid McNally and Tony Sheridan, and all of the staff, have pulled out all the stops to make us the most focused and well prepared squad in the whole tournament. The hotels, the meals and the team meetings are always extremely well prepared in advance. Maccer and Sherro provide us with everything we need and so we will have no excuses! The ball is in our court.


The Collingwood week is undoubtedly a marathon rather than a sprint. As has been the case in previous years, the strength and depth of squad is crucial, with 3/4 games in as many days. This stood to us particularly last year when we were able to rotate the squad on a regular basis and still maintain the quality on the pitch.


Often many of the games, particularly towards the end of the week, are centred around winning the battle with opposition, rather than out-playing them. Often the team who shows more commitment and who wants it that little bit more will come out on top and so we must travel to Belfast in the right frame of mind, determined to attack the week ahead.


On a personal level, 2013 marks my 4th consecutive Collingwood Cup appearance and this year, being my last year in college, I am more determined than any previous year to bring the cup back home once again. To date I have been lucky enough to be a part of a two triumphant Collingwood Cup Squads, having won the tournament in my first year in Derry, and also last year in Limerick. This year I travel with the squad as one of the most experienced players, something which is new to me. I hope to act as a leader for the team, particularly some of the newer lads. Coming back from a long injury I hope to use the Collingwood as an opportunity to gets games under my belt and as a platform for the start of the Airtricity League on the 8th of March, but don’t get me wrong, the reason I am travelling to Belfast is to win it, nothing less will suffice!


On our day, we have the players to beat any team put before us. As we all know football is never as easy as just showing up. Our preparation is done and the talking is now finished. No excuses. We travel tonight ready for the week ahead, confident and determined to bring the Collingwood back to Belfield once again.


UCD 2-0 Mary Immaculate College (Limerick), Collingwood Cup ¼ final

First team Captain Mick Leahy, currently injured but with the team in Belfast, looked back on the 1/4 final.

After receiving a first-round bye in this year’s tournament, UCD faced up against Mary Immaculate teaching college from Limerick in today’s Collingwood Cup quarter-final. Despite dominating the game, it took until the last 10 minutes for UCD to take the lead and win comfortably in the end.


Conditions were typical for an early-round Collingwood game. A bumpy pitch and a strong breeze hindered any passing football, with many early moves breaking down. UCD dominated from the outset, with Morrison, Belhout and Hanley all coming close in the first-half. Mary I only threatened from a couple of set-pieces, with their best chance coming when Mark McGinley dropped a long ball into the box, losing the ball in the air due to the reflection from his shiny new pink boots. A crunching Tomas Boyle tackle and a deserved yellow card was the only other piece of action for the UCD defence in a solid first-half performance. Dave Mc


UCD continued their dominance in the 2nd half but were frustrated by a well-organized Mary I team who defended admirably. As time ticked by, UCD became increasingly anxious as Mary I continued to defend resolutely. As captain David O’Connor quizzed the ref on some questionable time-wasting, the ref becoming tired with DOC’s constant nagging, responded by telling DOC to keep quiet and attempt to improve his own performance! In a 2nd-half flashpoint, Sami Belhout broke through and went down (too) easily in the box. The Mary I defender wasn’t pleased with Belhout’s exaggerated fall and decided to let Sami know. Belhout responded in true style by telling him to ‘learn to play football properly’ before he critiqued the winger’s play.


UCD eventually broke the deadlock in the 80th minute. After sustained pressure, a lobbed ball from Benson into the box, flicked on by Brien O’B, left Niall Wright 1-on-1 with the goalkeeper and the part-time actor finished calmly into the bottom corner. Soon after, another ball over the top by Benson left Cillian Morrison clean through on goal. Morrison managed to beat the keeper to the ball and stab it towards goal. Just as the ball crossed over the line, the retreating Mary I defender made sure it was a goal by (accidentally) powering a header into the net.


The last five minutes passed by without incident as UCD saw the game out comfortably. While it was not the most stylish display, the team produced a professional performance, exactly what was needed on the day in the conditions. A semi-final against hosts UUJ (Jordanstown) now awaits on Wednesday afternoon, in what will be UCD’s fifth Collingwood semi-final appearance in a row.

UCD 2-1 University of Ulster, Jordanstown, Collingwood Cup semi final

By Mick Leahy

Mick and NiallSemi-final day at the Collingwood Cup 2013 saw UCD progress to the final after a tough game against the University of Ulster Jordanstown. In a competitive first-half, both sides generally cancelled each other out. UUJ took the lead from a corner in the 30th minute, after UCD failed to clear. Ten minutes later, UCD equalised from a set-piece of their own. Tyrone McNelis lofted over a cross to the back post, Dave O'Connor headed it back across goal and Sami Belhout headed the ball audaciously into the net.


Half-time was notable for the amount of penalty kicks that flew past sub-keeper John Kelly into the net. The second half was again keenly contested, as both sides battled hard to take the lead. The UCD defence of Langtry, Wright, O’Connor and Boyle held strong throughout and repelled attack after attack. UCD eventually took the lead in the 75th minute. Robbie Benson curled a free-kick into the box, and Cillian Morrison rose to get the crucial touch to head into the corner. After the goal, UCD continued to defend resolutely, while still looking dangerous on the break. Morrison had the ball in the net again a few minutes later but it was ruled out for an earlier infringement.


UUJ never really came close to equalising again and UCD held on for a hard-fought 2-1 victory. A final against UCC now awaits on Thursday afternoon at 2pm. Captain David O’Connor is currently preparing his post-game speech in the hope of lifting the cup tomorrow, bringing home UCD’s fourth Collingwood Cup in five years.

UCD 2-1 UCC (Cork), Collingwood Cup final

By John Hudson

David McMillan hit the winner as UCD overcame old rivals UCC in Jordanstown on Thursday to retain university football's biggest prize.

McMillan had missed the Belfield side's quarter-final victory over Mary Immaculate College Limerick due to a slight injury, but he returned to play his part in their semi-final defeat of hosts Jordanstown.

The striker seized his opportunity to break the deadlock with 20 minutes remaining.  Maccer SHerro Gav

McMillan picked up a misplaced pass just outside the penalty area before beating 'keeper Michael Dorgan with a low drive that seemed to take a slight deflection on its way into the net. 

McMillan could have put the result beyond any doubt in the closing minutes after Andrew Neville handled a Michael Whelan drive inside the box, but he managed to blaze his spot-kick well over Dorgan's crossbar.

UCD were the livelier side throughout the game and, with Cillian Morrison and Player of the Tournament Robbie Benson (pictured) going close with first-half efforts.

The usually dangerous UCC strike force of Simon Holland and Josh O'Shea were kept well under control by top-class performances from the rock- solid Dave O'Connor and Tomas Boyle at the heart of the Belfield boys' defence.

This is the second piece of silverware in the Belfield trophy room this year after their victory in The Harding Cup earlier this month.

UCD - M McGinley; M Langtry, T Boyle, D O'Connor, N Wright; M Whelan, R Benson, N Hanley, S Belhout; C Morrison (B O'Brolchain 53), D McMillan.Subs not used: Ryan McLaughlin, Tristan
Dent,Robbie Murray, Michael Leahy, John Kelly, Brian McDonald.

UCC -  M Dorgan; A Gannon, J O'Brien, A Neville, C Barry; C O'Callaghan (L Connolly h-t), S Mahon, H O'Donovan, E Kilcommons (P Lawless 66); J O'Shea, S Holland. Subs not used: Cian Hill, Dan Murphy, Dylan McNamara, Ian Mylod, Ryan Price.

REF - S Taylor (Belfast).

Pictured right - Managers Diarmuid McNally and Tony Sheridan and Assistant Gavin Sheridan