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Hope crowned British University Gaelic football champions

A group of males wearing burgundy shirts stand and sit around a silver trophy on grass.

Liverpool Hope University men’s Gaelic football team have been crowned 2023-2024 British University champions after overcoming Nottingham Trent University in a keenly fought final in Warwickshire.

Hope claimed their sixth title, and their first since 2018-2019, with a 2-12 to 2-7 victory at Solihull’s Páirc na hÉireann on Sunday 3 March.

In a tight contest, Nottingham Trent overturned a six-point deficit to level the scores in the second half, but substitute Emmett Byrne converted a late goal to seal a five-point win for Hope.

“It is a big deal [to win this title]” said manager Stephen McGarvey, a second year Sport and Childhood & Youth student from Tyrone.

“Hope has a proud history of winning and we wanted to put our own stamp on it. We have heard the stories of the past teams and how well they have done but we wanted to create our own history and we have gone and done it.

“As tight as it was I had no doubt we were going to win it. Everyone played their role and it was a brilliant performance.”

Liverpool Hope has a proud tradition in Gaelic football.

We have claimed back-to-back British University Championships on two occasions in the last 10 years and were the first British university team to win the All-Ireland Corn na MacLeinn trophy in 2018.

In a change of tradition, this year’s championships were a straight knockout affair played over one weekend.

Hope overcame the University of Stirling in the quarter-final and Queen Margaret University in the last four on the Saturday, before travelling back to Solihull on the Sunday to face Nottingham Trent.

And, manager McGarvey was full of praise for the way his players handled the occasion.

“We knew there was a target on our back, but that’s what you want,” he added.

“Normally the Liverpool teams are the strongest, but Nottingham Trent were very good. They were better than we expected, but the boys stood up to that challenge and did their business on the pitch.

“There are so many names I could mention. You would have thought Cormac Kieran was his brother Justin who plays for Armagh and our captain Connor Carey took the responsibility of man marking their best player.

“All the lads stood up and none of them had a bad game.”

Published on 06/03/2024