DCU hosted the Harding Cup for the first time in the competition’s history last weekend.
The competition for Freshers, which has been going since 1970, came to DCU with assistance from the AUL providing pitches.
Despite DCU getting knocked out early on at the quarter-final stage, DCU head soccer coach Declan Roche was positive about the prospects present, saying: “It’s a great indication of what we have and I’m happy with the potential.”
He continued on to say that it was a tough week with a lot of matches across different competitions, and that they were unlucky to have drawn a tough team like UCD so early.
DCU’s Soccer Development Officer Fran Butler also agreed that while the result may not have been positive the hopes are still there for the future.
He said that DCU’s freshers “didn’t perform too well but sometimes you just don’t hit the ground running.”
Roche and Butler agreed that it was amazing for DCU to host the tournament, though Roche did express that there is a level of pressure involved in hosting and Butler explained that it did seem difficult to host in DCU since the university only has one full size permanent soccer pitch in St Claire’s.
Both agreed on how important the cup is to give younger players a chance to prove themselves. Butler pointed out that there is a lot of quality on the Freshers side this year with five of the team having been in the squad for the Collingwood Cup.
The captain for the Harding Cup, Sean Trimble, said he was disappointed with the performance having hoped to have made it to the finals also admitting that UCD was a tough first match.
He was, however, “delighted and surprised” to have been picked as the captain but was glad and found it to be an excellent opportunity to prove himself – especially with such quality players in the years ahead.
He said the cup was great since he would have only had 20 minutes of game time when it came to the Collingwood Cup.
The Harding Cup is the first taste of intervarsity soccer for many of the young players and despite the unfortunate result Roche clarified that it’s just the way it goes.
After winning last year, and having made it to the finals the year before, he explained that it runs in cycles when it comes to incoming freshers and a lot has to come together for them to perform well.
There remains an air of positivity for the future among the club for these young players as they progress.