In one of the tightest competitions to date, four teams from University College Cork (UCC) crossed the finish line of Jailbreak 2018 in Pula, Croatia.

Ninety teams departed from Dublin Castle at 9am on Saturday morning, setting out on the charity challenge in aid of St. Vincent de Paul and Amnesty International.  However it was Team 13 (Seán Hilliard & Eoghan Meaney), Team 74 (Conor Foskin & Adam Mulcahy), Team 103 (Siobhán O’Donnell & Claire Buckley) and Team 136 (Bríd Byrne & Róisín Russell) who crossed the finish line under the Arch of the Sergii – an Ancient Roman triumphal arch – in the centre of the beautiful city.

The arch is beside the Berlitz language school, in which world-renowned Irish author James Joyce spent four years teaching English from 1904-1908 at the age of 22, largely to Austro-Hungarian naval officers in the area. When asked which team had crossed the finish line first in order to be declared the winners, the UCC teams all agreed to be joint-first place.

Just on their tails in second place came Team 31 from Trinity College Dublin (Billy O’Hora and Liam Daly), and minutes afterwards came Team 130 from UCC (Sean O’Mahony and Samuel Grace). At the time of print, Billy and Liam from Team 31 were the current winners of the fundraising element of the competition, having raised a staggering €2,606.19, with donations still coming in.

Co-organised by An Cumann Gaelach, teams were also tasked with showcasing the best of Irish language and culture on their journeys. To qualify to win, three charity challenges had to have been completed which demonstrated the work and spirit of the three organisations.

Siobhán O’Donnell, from Team 103, spoke moments after winning about what the experience has meant for her team, despite some setbacks: ‘This competition is all about togetherness, and promoting our wonderful island nation to work together and help those who need it most. So, I find it both poignant and fitting that we decided to win as a collective. Every team, from all the other colleges in Ireland who participated in this competition are also winners, in my opinion, for showing creativity and dedication in supporting these two great charities.’

Donation lines are still open for Jailbreak 2018, with €54,000 being raised so far. Please text ‘Jailbreak’ to 50300 to donate €4, or donate at our website at

Rachel O’Neill – Editor