Sigerson Cup First Round- UCD v Trinity, capsule Tuesday 29th January, 7.30pm, Clan na Gael:
An attractive game for the neutral observer, and the only first round Irish Daily Mail Sigerson Cup tie set to be played under lights, sees the “Colours” Rivalry of the two biggest Dublin Universities renewed. TCD, one of only two of the University Teams still waiting for their maiden victory in this competition (UL the other) could not have asked for a much tougher assignment on their return to the competition, their first appearance since 2005, than a game against their city neighbours.
In the Ryan Cup in first semester, UCD made it as far as the Semi-Final stage before losing out to St. Mary’s College, Belfast. They defeated DCU, NUIM and IT Sligo. For Trinity, things didn’t go so well, and despite losing all three group games to Ulster opposition, they regrouped well to defeat NUI Maynooth in the Relegation Play-Offs. In the O’Byrne Cup, UCD were very competitive, and unlucky to lose all three games, as they went down to Louth, Meath and Longford by a combined total of nine points. TCD did not take part in the O’Byrne Cup this season.
For TCD, it will be interesting to see how their players react to plying their trade at the top level this year, but for the likes of Darragh Daly of Westmeath, Fermanagh’s Tomás Corrigan and Dublin’s Sean Murray their experience on the Inter-County scene should help lead the side. Down footballer Conor Laverty coaches Trinity and will ensure that they are as shrewd and spurred on to cause an upset.
UCD again have many household names in their squad, and must be wondering how long more they have to wait for their next Sigerson Cup title as the country’s largest third level institution has now gone sixteen years and seen eight other colleges capture the silverware since their last win back in 1996. The performances of players like Captain Josh Hayes, John Hesli
n, Rory O’Carroll, Kevin McLoughlin, Craig Dyas, Donie Kingston and Paul Cahilane, few if any of whom need any introduction, will be key to their bid to capture the Sigerson Cup and take it back to Belfield later next month.
UCD come into this game in indifferent form but if they get on top early in the contest they should advance against the Sigerson newcomers.
Verdict- UCD by 8 points
Possible UCD line up: Eoghan Keogh; Josh Hayes, Rory O’Carroll, Michael Furlong; Ciaran Lenehan, Luke Keaney, David Drake; John Heslin, Craig Dias; Kevin McLoughlin, Kevin Dyas, David Larkin; Niall Kilroy, Donie Kingston, Paul Cahillane
Round One- UCD v Limerick IT, Thursday 31st January, 2p.m., Belfield:
UCD have been paired with Limerick IT and DCU in Group C of the Fitzgibbon Cup. They play off a Round Robin with the top two teams qualifying for the quarter finals. Those who reach the semi-finals will be heading West to be hosted by GMIT on March 2nd or 3rd.
Collidge have emerged as dark horses for the competition after a strong performance in the league. They have relied on Tipperary star Noel McGrath in the past few two years however they have a stronger supporting cast on paper this year. Man of the Match in the All Ireland Final Wally Walsh will look to dominate at full forward, while the talents of Cillian Buckley, William Phelan, Liam Rushe and Rory O’Carroll make the spine of the team very formidable. They will be quietly confident that they can make a push to win the competition for the first time since 2001.
As ever the Munster colleges are fancied to reach the advanced stages of the competition and the same applies for Limerick IT. The 2007 champions were beaten finalists to UL in 2011.
UCD have a tough opening assignment but with home advantage may just sneak over the line to set up a quarter final spot.
Verdict- UCD by 2 points