Lilywhites to power Maynooth Sigerson Cup challenge
By Michael Devlin
Having been called back to the Kildare senior panel recently ahead of the 2019 season, Maynooth University forward Padraig Fogarty believes the Electric Ireland Sigerson Cup is a great opportunity for young players to showcase themselves for county call-ups.
The St Laurence’s player has been included in Cian O’Neill’s panel for the new season after a few years of lengthy injuries had hampered his fledgling inter-county career.
He believes good performances in Higher Education GAA’s premier football competition can put players in the shop window for managers on the lookout for new talent, given its growth in prestige and standard in the last number of years.
“A lot of lads playing county football want to break onto their county senior teams and impress the managers and that. A good few of them attend the games, so it’s a good launchpad. It’s a good quality of football, it’s probably more open and enjoyable football. It’s definitely a good place to show yourself.”
Maynooth enter the new year’s Sigerson with a first round clash away to Queen’s University Belfast, and Fogarty believes that while some senior players have moved on, a lot of new talent has come through to take their place, not least a good number of Kildare’s All-Ireland U20 winning team from this summer.
“We’ve lost a few from last from last year, but then we have a few in from freshers so it probably equals itself out. We have a good few from the Kildare U20 squad, and some from other counties. There’s a good spread.”
There has also been change in the Maynooth management team. Former Kildare star Johnny Doyle remains as manager, and he has welcomed in Davy Burke, manager of that triumphant U20 squad, as coach. Paul Divilly and Paulie Dunne are also involved.
“It’s freshened up a bit and everyone is enjoying. The lads have brought a new feel to it,” says Fogarty.
Maynooth enjoyed a fine Electric Ireland HE GAA Senior Football League campaign this term, topping Group A with wins over DIT, Carlow IT and current Sigerson Cup holders UCD. They edged out UL in the quarter-final, before just missing out on a place in the final after a one-point defeat to DCU.
“We’re probably lucky enough that we had everyone available,” says Fogarty. “Maybe in other years you’d be missing a good few from the squad.
“DCU beat us by a point, so we were disappointed on the day, as it would have been nice to get to the final. But on the other hand, it was good to get the five games.”