The DCU hockey team clinched the winning title of the mixed intervarsity tournament at Queens University for the first time in history.
DCU, who travelled up North as underdogs, were up against home side Queens University of Belfast in their opening game in the group stages of the tournament, winning comfortably 3-1 with goals coming from Alan O’Malley, Shane O’Brien and Ella Caird.
Next up were Technological University Dublin, who proved too strong for the Metropolitan University and unfortunately lost 4-0, however Fionn Delaney made some incredible saves in goals and deservedly earned DCU’s player of the match.
After a tough defeat all was not lost as DCU made it out of their group in second place and faced rivals University College Dublin in the semi-finals.
It was a neck-and-neck battle from the first whistle with UCD edging ahead slightly to make it 3-1 at half time. A heroic comeback from DCU in the second half saw impressive goals finished off from Katie Fearon and Pierce Hendy to end the result in a tie at 3-3.
This brought it to sudden death 1v1’s where DCU’s O’Malley shone once again scoring on the first go. Fionn Delaney showed courage and talent in goals saving UCD’s first shot, meaning DCU secured their spot in the final where they would meet TUD who they previously lost to in the group stages.
A nervous but excited DCU side stormed the pitch looking for revenge from the group stages and eager to clinch the title which was going to be a tough task after their previous loss.
A rebound off the UCD goalkeeper left O’Malley in the perfect position to hit it right in the back corner, giving DCU an early 1-0 lead.
The second half proved deeply defensive for DCU as they tried to not concede any goals, with few chances on the counterattack. That all changed as excellent skill from Katie Fearon resulted in a goal with 8 minutes to go.
Even though TUD were able to get on the scoresheet with a goal of their own, a mixture of sharp saves from goalkeeper Delaney and strong tackles from the defence managed to get DCU over the line and triumph 2-1 to clinch the Mixed intervarsity title for the first time in DCU history.
“It was so great to share this win with this truly deserving team who worked so hard throughout the year and to end with such a big win makes it all worthwhile,” said team member Lisa Walsh.
Men’s captain Will Eickholt summed up the victory saying, “the team go down as one of the greatest in Irish Hockey History.”
Image Credit: DCU Hockey