Twelve teams from across the Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland will descend the University of Ulster at Jordanstown this week as it gears up to host a football tournament steeped in almost a century of tradition.
The Collingwood Cup, celebrating its 99th year, will see the cream of university footballers battle it out to get their hands on Ireland’s oldest all-island senior tournament.
At the launch of the 2013 event, Dr. Nigel Dobson, Head of Sports Services at the university and the Mayor of Newtownabbey, Alderman Victor Robinson, unveiled details about the competition. The special launch event was also attended by Irsh FA president, Jim Shaw and IUFU chairman Terry McAuley.
Now it’s game time and Taylor Kirk, chairman of UUJ Soccer Club, told the Times: “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.
“Some of the local game’s big players, north and south of the border, have competed in the Collingwood and hosting this tournament has meant a lot of hard work and organisation. I personally could not have done it without the help of a lot of people. There are too many to name them all, but I must pay credit to university staff, students, everyone at Newtownabbey Borough Council and outside supporters and sponsors.”
The University of Ulster has hosted the Collingwood Cup twice before. In 1980, its student team won the first of its six titles. Their last success in the competition came five years ago.
“Lawrence Gilloway and his backroom staff have worked tirelessly organising training 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 unis Magee and UCC, it promises to be an exciting week of football. So, I’m urging everyone to come out and support the boys and be our ‘twelfth man’ in our first match on Tuesday (February 26) at 11am against RCSI.
“Hopefully we can produce the goods and win the Collingwood for the first time since 2008,” added the 22-year-old Newtownabbey man.
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.