CUFL Futsal Nationals (24/1/18)
At the end of January, our team travelled to the WIT Arena in Waterford for the CUFL Futsal National Championships. After our success in the Regional tournament in the Mardyke Arena, confidence was at an all-time high and there was a great atmosphere of optimism on our team bus. Competing at this competition was UCC, DIT, IT Carlow, and National College of Ireland.
When we arrived, we were in awe of the new facility in WIT, and we were shown to our dressing room. Everyone was excited and motivated to get out into the hall and to represent UCC Futsal again. After we had our team photo taken, and were shown our team section in the audience, we began our warmup. UCC were to face DIT in the first game of the tournament, and we were anxious to get started.
After a slow start to the game, DIT pulled ahead through a fast counter attack followed up by a powerful shot that our keeper had no chance of stopping. After that, our team regrouped and managed to pull a goal back through a solid team effort. Unfortunately, DIT were too quick on the ball and managed to score 2 more counter attack goals. Despite looking like we were going to be starting the competition off with a loss, our team refused to give up and after a few substitutes, we managed to pull back one goal. It was an unfortunate start to the tournament but the team kept their heads up and everyone looked forward to the next game with optimism.
From a neutral point of view, the next game was an extremely exciting game to watch. UCC started against National College of Ireland with an entirely different squad as the previous game, in order to play with as many fresh legs as possible. After quickly going 2-0 down, we managed to close the gap to one, by scoring a quick counter attack goal. Unfortunately, our team structure fell apart in the last few minutes of the first half, and our team let in 4 goals in the minutes leading up to half time. Naturally everyone was extremely frustrated, both on and off the pitch, with our team’s lapse in concentration. Going into the second half 6-1 down, UCC were extremely determined not to let this game get worse and so we went into the second half with a newly found fighting spirit. For the next 15 minutes, everyone on the court did their part and gave 100% for the team. Through an enormous effort, our team managed to score 3 goals in the second half, and only conceded 1. The game finished 7-4 and after settling down on the sidelines, we were able to analyse the game and draw a lot of positives from the team’s performance, particularly from the second half.
Unfortunately, we were not in a good position in the tournament table, and so we went into the last game against IT Carlow with a nothing-to-lose attitude. Everyone was told to run as hard as they could and to give every last bit of effort they had in them, and our team took this advice on board well. UCC put together several nice attacking moves, and showed great organisation in defense throughout the match. After an enormous team effort, several minor injuries, and 3 wonderfully-worked team goals, UCC unfortunately lost 5-3.
After a long and tiring day, we were disappointed to come away from WIT with no points, although we drew a lot of positives from the day’s performances. Our team is optimistic going forward, and we are happy with our progress in our first year as a club. We are hoping to have an intervarsities tournament at some point in the near future and so our team is going to be training hard to improve on our results from Nationals.