THREE students from Carrick are aiming to fire the University of Ulster’s Jordanstown football team to Cup glory this week.
Carrick Rangers players Jonny Addis and Daniel Kelly, together with Ballyclare Comrades’ Craig Reid, have been named in UUJ squad for the Collingwood Cup which kicks off at the local campus on Monday.
Twelve teams from across the Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland will descend on Jordanstown as it prepares to host a tournament steeped in almost a century of tradition.
Celebrating its 99th year, the event will see the cream of university footballers battle it out to get their hands on Ireland’s oldest all-island senior tournament.
Jordanstown has hosted the competition twice before. In 1980, its team won the first of its six titles. UUJ’s last success in the competition came five years ago.
Addis, a regular with Michael Hughes’ Carrick Rangers, is making his debut in the competition and he’s expecting to see stacks of quality on display. He also holds high hopes that he and his team-mates can get the momentum going early as take on Royal College of Surgeons Ireland (RCSI) in their first fixture on Tuesday morning (11am).
“I enjoy playing for UUJ, it’s something different to the usual Saturday football,” said the Business Studies student. “It’s maybe not as serious or full-on, but there are quality players involved from Championship 1 and 2 and some from the Amateur League as well. It’s a good standard and obviously the other teams we are up against are playing at a good level as well.
“The Collingwood is another step up again. It’s taken very seriously by all involved and some of the teams from the south will be really good outfits.”
“I don’t know anything about RCSI but I think the team played against them last year at the quarter-finals stage and they lost. I’m sure they will be a stern test for us. We are looking forward to it and hopefully we can produce the goods.”
Addis admitted that it’s difficult to gauge just how UUJ compare with the other squads, but he’s confident they can give a good account of themselves.
“It’s hard to say exactly how strong our side is because we don’t know a lot about the other teams. We just know that in previous years other sides have been of a high standard, but I think we fancy ourselves to do well. We are the hosts, so we want to put in a good performance and represent the university well. Hopefully, we can do that on the pitch.”
Taylor Kirk, chairman of UUJ Soccer Club, added: “With the Collingwood just around the corner and everything in place the excitement is building amongst players and staff alike for the arrival of university football’s most prestigious tournament.
“Lawrence Gilloway and his backroom staff have worked tirelessly to organise training sessions and the players’ commitment has been second to none. With 12 universities from all over Ireland including UCD, Queen’s, as well as our sister uni Magee, it promises to be an exciting week of football. I’m urging everyone come out and support the boys and be our ‘twelfth man’ in our first match on Tuesday (February 26) against RCSI .”
The universities taking part are as follows: University of Ulster Jordanstown, University of Ulster Magee, Queen’s University Belfast, Trinity College Dublin, University College Dublin, Dublin City University, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, National University of Ireland Maynooth, University College Cork, University of Limerick, Mary Immaculate College Limerick and National University of Galway.