By Marcus Blake
DIT Hockey Club created history over the October Bank Holiday weekend, becoming the first Institute of Technology to host the prestigious All-Ireland IUCHA Hockey Intervarsities.
The Tournament featured a total of twenty-four teams from across the country, competing in the Cup and Plate of the Chilean and Mauritius competitions and was held in the grounds of Three Rock Rovers Hockey Club in Grange Road. DIT also created another bit of history by becoming the first Institute of technology to compete in both Cup competitions.
First up was DIT ladies who were slow off the mark against a Trinity College side (who feature in the Irish Hockey League). Trinity took the lead early on but DIT weren’t fazed by their opposition and Irish International Kate Lloyd equalised just before half time.
DIT came out much brighter in the second half and found themselves on the front foot when Sophie Barnwell put the side ahead. DIT held strong and brilliant defending from Aine Ryan, Bella Murphy. With some wonderful goalkeeping from Alanah Carragher, DIT kept Trinity at bay.
Trinity weren’t without fight though and six minutes from time found a way through to equalise. Chances for both sides in the final minutes went astray and DIT earned a hard fought valuable point in their first game.
The ladies faced last year’s runners up and Ulster Premier League leaders Queens University in their second match. They got off to a quick start with Laura Hanlon opening the scoring. The lead lasted two minutes as Queens pegged back the hosts and took control of the match with Sophie Barnwell and Lydia Wafer being kept very busy in the midfield and defence until half time.
Queens came out much the same, applying a very aggressive press and were rewarded halfway through the second period with a second goal. Similar to the first half, the lead didn’t last long as DIT leveled two minutes later with Sally Campbell on song.
DIT were much better in the closing stages but failed to break a resilient Queens defence. DIT finished as runners up with two points, following Queens’ 4-2 result over Trinity and faced two time reigning Champions UCD in the semi final.
The reigning champions had too much for DIT on this occasion, romping up a 9-1 win with Sally Campbell grabbing the consolation goal for DIT. The ladies finished the weekend on a positive note though with a solid 3-1 win over Munster Senior League Champions UCC in the Third Place Playoff.
The Men were hoping to make it fifth-time-lucky in the Mauritius Cup following four straight final defeats in a row. They opened their account with a poor 3-2 defeat to Dublin rivals, Trinity College with goals from Harry Morris, and Colin Jackson.
They made amends in their second match with a thumping 7-1 win over Munster side, Cork IT. DIT got off to a flyer with Ben Campbell slotting home to get the hosts under way. Further goals from James Walker, Harry Morris, and college veteran Scott Sullivan had DIT out of sight by half time.
Cork IT did pull one back early into the second half, but further goals from James Walker (2) and Gavin Gibney put DIT in seventh heaven and secured their spot in the semi-final as group winners following Cork IT’s victory over Trinity College in the final group match.
The semi-final provided opposition from DIT’s old nemesis Ulster University. The match was a tense and heated affair with both sides working chances and goalkeeper Ben Mayburry was kept on his toes throughout the evening with a few great saves.
DIT fired right back with James Walker going close and Harry Morris also striking the crossbar. Andrew Sykes kept the pressure up and marshalled the DIT team throughout, but it wasn’t enough and the game went to shootout following a tense 0-0 draw.
DIT were to lose out to their old rivals 4-3 and headed into the third place playoff wondering what might have been. They faced CIT in their final match of the weekend. The match was uneventful and finished in a dower 0-0 draw with CIT claiming the bronze medals in a 5-4 penalty shootout win.