It was yet another busy year for the CIT Student GAA Club with a full calendar of games and training since we started back last September. Huge interest from Fresher’s saw the club entering teams in three divisions in football and two in hurling. We also had good interest from the girls in Camogie and Ladies Football. Maybe it was current student Ciaran Sheehan bringing the Sam Maguire on its first Official visit to Cork to the CIT Sports and Societies registration day or maybe it is the reputation that CIT has built up as a centre of sporting excellence but certainly numbers participating in all the teams were up considerably this year. Training for Senior, Intermediate and Junior teams were packed with students in October and remained that way until the close of business (if there is such a thing) by mid-March.
The purpose or aim of the Student GAA Club in CIT is to encompass a sense of community identity through the medium of our National Games. Its objective is to make all aspects of the Gaelic Athletic Association, be it playing, coaching or administration, accessible to all that attend or work at the Institute. We aspire to encourage involvement in the hope that the experiences gained at Third level will encourage students to become active in their own communities long after they finish their formal education. This is essentially the barometer we use to determine whether or not the year has been a success. Victories on the field of play are only meaningful when they are as a consequence of these aims being lived up to. It is fair to say therefore, that while there were some notable successes as well as hard felt heartbreak throughout the club this season, all those involved in 2010/11 can be proud in manner which they flew the flag of CIT in the Higher Education GAA Competitions and upheld the aims of the club.
Our Fresher Division 1 Footballers won the league and were beaten in the Championship Final, their campaign was certainly a memorable and historical one. At the time of writing our Intermediate footballers have to play in League and Championship Finals, and the County Championship teams are busy preparing for the Cork County Senior hurling and football championships.
Heartbreak came in the guise of losing the Fitzgibbon semi-final and League semi-finals to double champions UL by 2points on both occasions. We also lost by the same margin to UCC and WIT in the All Ireland Intermediate hurling league and championship finals and lost out too in the Fresher 1 hurling league final. Our Camogie team lost to NUIG in the Ashbourne Shield final and to the same opposition in the Fresher Shield final. It can be hard to stomach defeat and it’s not something that one would like to get used to but one also has to pride oneself in the success of taking part, of competing against the best and being able to be up there when the last day of the competition comes around.
There is no hiding the disappointment of the performance of our Senior Footballers in Sigerson, especially when you see the efforts they put in only to see the wheels come of the bus on the big day. There is consolation in that we fielded almost a whole new outfit and albeit it talented, there is no substitute for experience. The hope now that they learn from 2011 and drive on next year! Our Ladies Footballers were also disappointed after having a great win over DIT they came up 2 points short against eventual finalist DCU in the Lynch Cup Semi-Final. They too though, have most of the girls back next year and may eventually make the break through.
It is not as much as getting the bit of luck but more often than not as avoiding the bad luck that can be the difference between winning and losing. Our Fresher Hurlers who had promised so much and worked so hard were testament to this. A good league campaign and some excellent performances in the run up to their opening Championship ¼ final against UL were indicators for a possible good run in this competition. But horrible weather conditions where the wind and rain increased considerably as the game went on and a series of injuries meant that the lighter CIT side had to give way to a more physically stronger UL. One would have said that on any other day CIT would have come out on top.
All in all though, the statistics speak for themselves with over 130 games and 300 training sessions for our student membership of 500 resulted in yet another good year for the CIT Student GAA Club – with a bit of good fortune 2012 might year turn out to be a great year.