Collingwood has for long been the main event in Irish University Football and 11 teams gathered for this season’s competition in Cork.
Queen’s 2 NUI Galway 1
Queen’s were drawn to play NUI Galway in the first day preliminary round. The very wet winter meant that this game was played on a 3g pitch.
NUIG took the lead after the half-hour mark, when Stephen Roden’s low-cross from the left wing was turned home by Niall Whelan at close range.
Galway were dealt a huge blow five minutes before the break however, as Roden was sent-off for pulling back Martin Ramsey in the box; Patrick Stuart dispatching the penalty low past Horgan.
10-men-NUIG had the second period’s opening opportunity, as a fantastic through ball from Niall Healy found Whelan, but he could only fire wide under pressure. Despite their inferiority in numbers Galway were looking the better team, and McCrea had to be out quick to smother Sansui’s shot after a clever Conor Melody reverse.
However it was to be Queen’s that would take the lead, after David Elliot brilliantly curled in a contested free-kick off the post and past a helpless Horgan in the NUIG goal. Galway, to their immense credit, were still battling hard, and striker Whelan seized on a defensive error to curl a shot just wide of the far upright.
Stuart had a brilliant opportunity to seal the win twelve minutes from time, but Murphy was again equal to smother the chance before ever-present Whelan headed a corner over the bar. However it wasn’t to be NUIG’s day, as there was just about time for goalscorer Whelan to get his marching orders for dissent.
Quarter final: Queen’s 1 UCD 1 (UCD won 8-7 on penalties)
This game was played on a dreadful pitch at Cork City’s training ground at Bishopstown. The constantly bobbling ball made good football impossible so there were a lot of long balls in evidence. On 44 minutes Queen’s played a high ball into the penalty area and as it came off the head of a UCD defender, Matt Hughes nipped in to volley home from 6 yards. The lead was short lived. From the kick off UCD crossed from the left and Georgie Kelly reacted quickest to head home from 5 yards.
In the second half UCD dominated possession but Queen’s almost won it. Hughes’s right wing corner fell to Patrick Stuart who promptly fired home from close range but the linesman flagged for a foul on the keeper Corbet and the celebrations were cut short. Neither side could find a winner in extra time and so it was on to the dreaded penalty shoot out. The penalty taking was excellent but David Elliott’s penalty was saved by Corbet and UCD went through to the semi-finals 8-7 on penalties.
Queen’s defending was heroic in this game and Chris McIlwaine’s performance in the centre of the Queen’s defence was outstanding.
Farquhar Cup semi final: Queen’s 1 UCC 4
The Farquhar Cup semi-final is always a tough ask and after a goalless first half Cork proved too strong and ran out easy 4-1 winners. Ryan Murray bagged the Queen’s goal in the last few minutes.
– UCD went on to beat UL by 2-1 in the Collingwood final
– UCC beat DCU 4-1 in the Farquhar Cup final
– NUI Galway won the Spillane Cup
Once again Collingwood was a most enjoyable competition. The 2017 Collingwood will be hosted by NUI Maynooth.