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Thursday's Sigerson Cup Previews

Thursday, February 13, 2014

All four Irish Daily Mail HE GAA Sigerson Cup quarter-finals take place on Thursday afternoon, after two of the games were postponed on Wednesday.


Thursday, February 13

Irish Daily Mail HE GAA Sigerson Cup 2014 Quarter-Finals

DIT v UUJ, Parnells GAA Club, 2.30pm
GMIT v NUI Maynooth, Tuam Stadium (Connacht GAA Centre as stand-by venue), 3pm
UCD v DCU, Belfield, 3.30pm
UCC v Cork IT, Mardyke, 3.30pm


DIT v UUJ, Parnells GAA Club, 2.30pm

Reigning champions DIT face University of Ulster, Jordanstown (UUJ) at 2.30pm at Parnells today after the game was postponed on Wednesday.

DIT advanced to the last eight last week with a thrilling 2-11 to 1-13 win over St. Mary's, Belfast. Cavan's Conor Madden came off the bench to hit 1-1 in that game, his contribution proving decisive to the eventual victory.

The Dublin side may not have quite the same level of star quality as they had when they won the competition in 2013, but with the likes of Bryan Menton (Meath), Kevin O'Brien (Dublin), Tomás O'Connor (Kildare) and Ciarán Reddin (Dublin) in their ranks, they are not short on inter-county talent.

UUJ comfortably defeated IT Sligo two weeks ago to reach the quarter-finals. The Jordanstown outfit last won the competition in 2008, and they have an extremely strong looking squad to choose from this season.

At full-back is Derry and Ireland defender Chrissy McKaigue, with Monaghan All Star Colin Walshe in that line as well. Ahead of them is Cavan's young All Star nominee Killian Clarke at centre-half-back, while in attack, UUJ are brimming with some of the best forwards in Ulster football such as Jamie Clarke (Armagh), Connor McAliskey, Mattie Donnelly and Ronan O'Neill (all Tyrone).

GMIT v NUI Maynooth, Tuam Stadium (Connacht GAA Centre as stand-by venue), 3pm

GMIT welcome NUI Maynooth to the west on Thursday, most likely in Tuam although the game may take place on one of the all-weather pitches in Bekan should the Tuam turf be too wet. GMIT are probably the surprise package of the Sigerson last eight, having stunned 2014 hosts Queens last week, winning 2-6 to 0-8 at the Dub.

GMIT were 0-6 to 0-2 in front at half-time, and then second half goals from substitutes Aineas Lawless and Shane Hennelly saw them advance at the expense of their shocked hosts. However, GMIT face a major challenge against NUI Maynooth.

The Kildare-based college were very comfortable 2-19 to 1-5 winners over IT Blanchardstown last week, and one look through their team from that win suggests they will be hard stopped in this year's competition.

At midfield they have reigning Footballer of the Year Michael Darragh Macauley, while his Dublin teammate Eric Lowndes is in the half back line. Kildare seniors Paul Cribbin and Paddy Brophy are key men up front, as is Donegal's Patrick McBrearty and Meath's Eamonn Wallace, who hit 0-7 the last day out.

UCD v DCU, Belfield, 3.30pm

If derbies are possible in the Sigerson Cup, there are two big ones taking place this afternoon at Belfield and the Mardyke respectively.

UCD host DCU in what promises to be an intriguing battle between two of the big Dublin universities. DCU, winners of the competition in 2006, 2010 and 2012, travel across the city to take on UCD, who have not won the competition since the 1995/1996 academic year.

DCU advanced to the last eight with a very convincing 4-15 to 0-11 over NUI Galway last week. Dublin youngster Conor McHugh was central to that win, notching 1-5, while Wicklow senior Conor McGraynor hit 1-2.

DCU manager Niall Moyna may not have quite as star-studded a crop of inter-county talent to choose from as he has had in recent seasons, but the comprehensive nature of their dismantling of NUI Galway, and their solid showing in the recent O'Byrne Cup where they reached the semi-finals, suggests they are very capable of reaching the Sigerson finals weekend once more.

UCD also reached the semi-finals of the O'Byrne Cup, although they suffered a fairly heavy 5-17 to 2-11 defeat at the hands of Kildare in that game. They advanced to the last four of the Sigerson Cup with a 0-17 to 2-7 win over Athlone IT a fortnight ago.

The star of the show that day was Westmeath senior John Heslin, who was brilliant in the second half as he kicked UCD to victory with a final tally of 0-7, 0-6 of which came from play. Heslin is a stand-out name on the UCD teamsheet, while Dublin duo Jack McCaffrey and Paul Mannion will also take some stopping.

UCC v Cork IT, Mardyke, 3.30pm

In the final quarter-final taking place on Thursday, it's an all-Cork affair as UCC face Cork IT in the Mardyke. UCC were defeated in the final of the Sigerson Cup last year, and will be determined to reach the finals weekend once again.

They defeated Trinity College Dublin last week (1-14 to 1-7), with Tipperary senior Michael Quinlivan hitting 1-2 in the win. The majority of the UCC side are from Cork - nine Corkmen started in the win over Trinity - while Kerry seniors Paul Geaney and Conor Cox join Quinlivan in a powerful looking full-forward line.

Cork IT comfortably defeated Carlow IT (2-12 to 0-8) in the last round to advance to the last eight. Cathal Vaughan struck 1-6 in that win, while Donal Óg Hodnett, a recent addition to the Cork senior football team, notched 0-4. Pa Kilkenny, who has got game time with Kerry in their first two games in the Allianz Football League, is a prominent presence in the full-back line.

The four winners from this week's games advance to the 'Finals Weekend', which takes place at Queen's University on Friday, February 21 and Saturday, February 22.


Video by Jerome Quinn

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