Pre-season has begun in earnest for the St Vincent’s Hospital football team, which is looking to win back-to-back league titles. The majority of the squad are back on the field, but a number of the lads who took part in the recent World Medical Football Championship in Prague have been granted an extended summer break.
Winning the title in such a convincing fashion brings additional hurdles for the season ahead, as the club has been promoted two tiers to the Leinster Senior League Major 1B Saturday Division. Twelve sides will compete to be crowned champions, with no team considered a ‘light touch’. The Tom Carroll and Noel Ryan Cup competitions provide alternative routes to glory, though it is difficult for amateur sides with only one team to balance league and cup schedules.
The priority this season is a strong league campaign. There is an element of the unknown regarding the standard required to win a league title on any given year, and the task at hand will become clearer within a few weeks of the season getting underway.
Like every other year, the squad has undergone some changes on account of peripheral rotations and the allure of the Southern Hemisphere. There have been retirements, but club stalwart Ronan Murray will return for another season with the aim of reclaiming his throne as all-time top goal-scorer. Squad turnover is nothing new for St Vincent’s and we look forward to integrating new faces, as well as keeping in touch with players past.
<h3 class=”subheadMIstyles”>Crumlin Cup pre-season tournament</h3>
It is important to identify areas of weakness to drive improvement, and St Vincent’s entered the Crumlin Cup pre-season competition to see how top clubs go about their business. Featuring some of the best teams from across the Leinster Senior League, and showing off a number of aspiring and former professional players, the tournament standard was exceptionally high. The team played three matches across a one-week period. We started brightly in a 1-1 draw against Templeogue United FC. Barra Neary placed a deft lob over the keeper from 25 yards to secure a point. Subsequent games were not so kind. Skerries Town and Malahide United oozed class, combining quick passing, intelligent movement and devastating finishing to come away with convincing wins. A real learning experience that gave a close-up look at how simple football played quickly can be ruthlessly effective, which is a template that the team will work towards going forward.
<h3 class=”subheadMIstyles”>Looking ahead</h3>
Being promoted two divisions is a huge achievement, and the new league represents the highest level the club has reached in its history. Every week will bring a fresh challenge, and we are looking forward to proving ourselves over the course of the season. As always, the <strong><em>Medical Independent</em></strong> will provide extensive coverage and in-depth analysis of the team’s progress.
A major step forward for the club is the impending move to St Killian’s’ new 11-a-side astro pitch for winter training, which is a huge upgrade on last season’s facilities. Home games will continue to be played under the Friday night-lights of St Benildus College, where we will again look to go undefeated.
<h3 class=”subheadMIstyles”>A word for our sponsors</h3>
We would like to thank our fantastic sponsors, who make a huge contribution to the successful running of the club: Kiely’s of Donnybrook; Progressive Financial Services; Doyle Interior Systems; the Medical Protection Society; Medserv; and consultant benefactors from St Vincent’s Hospital. They are wonderful partners, and we would like to sincerely thank them.
<h3 class=”subheadMIstyles”>World Medical Football Championship</h3>
The 2019 World Medical Football Championship takes place in Riviera Maya, Mexico, from 29 June to 7 July. A representative squad of 25 doctors will look to go one better than the outstanding silver achieved by the women’s hockey team and become the first Irish side to take gold in an international field competition. There is pedigree, as the team has reached the quarter final stage twice previously. Unique tournament rules dictate there must be two players older than 40 and two older than 35 on the pitch at all times. Gav Keane, Aidan McGrath, John Frizelle, Tommy Fitzgerald and Ronan McDermott, proud St Vincent’s Hospital club players, will be leading the charge. Training will get underway later in the year, and any doctor interested in getting involved is encouraged to get in touch.
<h3 class=”subheadMIstyles”>Getting involved</h3>
Pre-season training is underway, and competitive matches kick-off at the end of August. Training currently takes place between UCD and Bushy Park. We are always looking for new players, supporters and sponsors. If you would like to get in touch, please do so via our email, firstname.lastname@example.org, or the St Vincent’s Hospital FC Facebook page.
<p class=”Bodycopynoindent”>The Irish Medical Football World Championship organisers can be contacted via email at <a href=”mailto:email@example.com”>firstname.lastname@example.org</a>.
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