It’s just about that time of the calendar when futile discussions take place regarding which UCD athletes outperformed others in completely separate disciplines. Complimented by weirdly shaped trophies that hold little meaning beyond a night out in a suit or dress, we at The College Tribune thought we’d get amongst the action (we’re bored).

So, we have looked at those high-achieving Belfield sportsmen and sportswomen of 2023 who have done enough in our eyes to be included in this extremely important power ranking of their respective displays.

UCD sportspeople
The Tribune’s UCD Sports People of the Years – Graphic, Hugh Dooley

The UCD Sportsmen:

5th: Danú Kinsella-Bishop – UCD AFC

With the departure of gaffer Andy Myler, coupled with the club’s relegation, it was a year to leave behind for the Belfield boys, but with every period of struggle, comes a comforting prospect. Danú Kinsella-Bishop, Ladies and Gents. Leading all others in scoring for the students this season, Kinsella-Bishop’s six goals left him with one of the league’s most efficient scoring records (1 goal every 227 minutes).

The 22-year-old striker’s appearances on the scoresheet peaked towards the end of the season as he was awarded The League of Ireland’s ‘Goal of the Month’ for October.

4th: Chris Cosgrave – UCD Rugby

Midway through the 2023-24 campaign, the Collidge finds itself in a positive seventh place, with impressive wins over Trinity, third place Lansdowne, and City of Armagh.

One of the stars of the season, full-back Chris Cosgrave has caught the eye of many over the last twelve months. UCD’s second-highest scoring player this season, Cosgrave’s four tries only conceding to Belfield’s kicking scrum-half Michael Moloney. The year gone by’s catching of eyes breached the boundaries of the UCD Bowl and The College Tribune headquarters. The 22-year-old starred in Leinster’s away victory over the South African Lions, scoring a try and nailing a crucial 50/22 in the final minutes.

3rd: Garry Ringrose – UCD Rugby (Former Entry)

Yes, we are aware that Garry Yes, we are aware that Garry Ringrose’s 2023 should probably land him at number one… along with half of the Irish rugby team, but where’s the fun in that? So Leinster’s new captain will have to settle for a modest, but admirable third.

The 28-year-old has exemplified an increasing maturity in his game over the last couple of seasons, seeing him take one-half of a co-captaincy for his province, alongside fellow UCD alumni James Ryan.

Despite the disappointment of the World Cup; a second Grand Slam for his country, along with a stellar club season, means we will forgive the Business and Law graduate and grant him a spot on this list.

2nd: Israel Olatunde – UCD Athletics

An unsurprising entry, Israel Olatunde’s name has become synonymous with athletic recognition, locally, nationally and internationally.

Although Olatunde missed out on the European Indoor final back in March, the Dundalk athlete managed to set a new Irish 60m indoor record and retain his national 100m title for the third year running. 2024 will likely prove a defining year in Israel’s career with both the prospect of the European Athletics Championships and the Summer Olympics ahead of him. We suspect he’ll capture that number-one spot come this time next year.

1st: Sean McVeigh – UCD American Football

Perhaps not the discipline most would associate with UCD’s sporting prowess, American Football is one of Belfield’s fastest-growing pastimes. At the forefront of that growth in 2023, was Sean McVeigh.

Without picking up an egg-shaped ball until 2022, McVeigh set the highest level of Irish-American Football alight last season. Recording sixteen touchdowns for the season, seven receptions and nine rushing, landing himself the AFI’s (American Football Ireland) offensive player of the year. McVeigh’s efforts did not go unnoticed as he represented the Irish Wolfhounds throughout the year, as well as earning himself a move to Switzerland-based outfit, Zurich Renegades.

Sean has forged a path for himself in a sport with little backing in this country, never mind within the university. That is something to admire, and it sees him take our top spot.

Belfield’s Sportswomen:

5th: Sarah McAuley – UCD Hockey

Final year sociology and social policy student, Sarah McAuley, was an integral part of the Irish Women’s Hockey team that competed at the European Championships, bringing her number of Irish caps to an impressive 29. McAuley’s international experience played a key role in the UCD Women’s EY Hockey League win in 2023. McAuley is currently competing at the Qualifiers in Spain hoping to secure Team Ireland’s place at the Paris 2024 Olympics.

4th: Sarah Healy – UCD Athletics

Middle distance runner and UCD Ad Astra Athletics star, Sarah Healy, had an exciting year in 2023, marked by significant performances at international events. Healy became only the third Irish woman, after Sonia O’Sullivan and Ciara Mageean, to complete the 1,500m in under 4 minutes. The current UCD law student continued her success, winning silver at the U23 European Athletics Championships and has qualified for the Paris 2024 Olympics.

3rd: Eve McMahon – UCD Sailing

Howth Yacht Club’s sailing sensation and three-time International Youth Champion, Eve McMahon, continued her dominance of the sport by securing the World U21 Championship title in 2023. McMahon’s achievements earned her the Irish Sailor of the Year award for the fourth time. She received further recognition when shortlisted for the RTÉ Young Sportsperson of the Year. The current UCD economics and finance student kicked off this season by securing a place at the Paris 2024 Olympic Sailing Regatta.

  1. Ciara Mageean – UCD Athletics (Alumni Entry)

Ciara Mageean had a year to remember; regaining the Irish 800m record, improving the Irish mile record set by Sonia O’Sullivan by three seconds, and finishing second in the Diamond League.

The middle-distance runner now holds the Irish 800m, 1,000m, 1,500m, and mile records. Mageean received the 2023 Track Athlete of the Year award and was nominated by the Irish Times as Sportswoman of the Month for September. The former UCD physio student will have an exciting year ahead, preparing for the Paris 2024 Olympics.

1 . Lara Gillespie – UCD Cycling

World-class cyclist Lara Gillespie had a sensational year in 2023. In June, Gillespie was crowned National Road Champion, winning both the U23 and elite titles. She followed this victory by becoming the European U23 Omnium and Points Race Champion in July.

Gillespie further stamped her authority on women’s cycling in November, with strong performances in the Track Champions League, with a 4th place in Berlin, 3rd in Paris, and 1st and 2nd in the Grand Finale in London.

Just 22, we’re expecting more appearances on this list in the future.