Tuesday 19 September 2017

Five great gaelic footballers who played Sigerson Cup

Bernard Brogan in action for DCU in 2007 and (right) Jim McGuinness in his UUJ days
Bernard Brogan in action for DCU in 2007 and (right) Jim McGuinness in his UUJ days

Michael Verney

The Sigerson

Jim McGuinness (Donegal/IT Tralee/UUJ)

Long before he changed the face of Gaelic football when taking charge of his native Donegal and leading them to their second All-Ireland SFC title, McGuinness had the distinction of captaining two different colleges to Sigerson Cup titles.

It's excess of five hours from his home in Glenties to IT Tralee, but that didn't stop the 1992 All-Ireland winner claiming Sigerson titles in '98 and '99, as skipper, of a star-studded Kerry side which included Galway greats Pádraic Joyce and Michael Donnellan.

His extensive third-level studies made him the Van Wilder of his generation and just two years later he would venture to Jordanstown where the current Celtic U-20 coach would lead the Antrim college UUJ to a famous Sigerson win.

Maurice Fitzgerald (Kerry/UCC) 

Widely regarded as one of the most gifted footballers to play the game Fitzgerald lit up the Sigerson Cup during his four years with UCC culminating in his man of the match display during their 0-8 to 0-5 defeat of UCG in 1988.

Fitzgerald kicked three points in what was a precursor to his glittering Kerry career which commenced later that year. Despite arriving on the scene in a difficult period for the Kingdom the Cahirsiveen attacker always shone bright.

An All-Ireland winner in 1997 and 2000, the current Kerry selector is best remembered for almost singlehandedly winning the '97 decider hitting nine of Kerry's 13 points while his epic sideline kick in the dying moments in 2001 quarter-final against Dublin has gone down in football folklore.

Kieran McGeeney (Armagh and Queen's)

Renowned for his iron will both on and off the pitch McGeeney showed signs that he was a special player capable of delivering special things in the future during his college years with Queen's University.

Alongside Derry colossus Anthony Tohill the Armagh defender helped Queen's prevail in an all-Belfast derby against St Mary's in 1993 before a successful career in orange and white, the highlight of which was their first and only Sam Maguire success in 2002.

'Geezer', the current Armagh boss, was captain of that trailblazing side and picked up Footballer of the Year that winter as well as subsequently leading the Irish International Rules side and making huge strides as Kildare manager.

Colm O'Rourke (Meath/UCD) 

Defending champions UCD lead the Sigerson Cup roll of honour with 33 titles and O'Rourke was one of many to play a key part during their golden generation when they won six out of seven titles from 1973 to '79.

The Meath legend, now a Sunday Independent columnist, collected his sole medal in that '79 success as they Belfield giants steamrolled UCG before collecting two All-Ireland titles and Footballer of the Year in '91 for Sean Boylan's Royals.

Along with Brian Stafford and Bernard Flynn, The Sunday Game pundit made up one of the most lethal full-forward lines ever to play the game and just last year he managed Simonstown Gaels, with his son Shane to the fore, to their first Meath SFC title.

Bernard Brogan (Dublin/DCU)

In the same year as his Dublin stellar career began (2006) Brogan collected a Sigerson Cup crown with DCU and was a central part of a history-making success for the city college as they claimed their first third-level title.

With Mayo's Conor Mortimer and Cavan's Seanie Johnston also in attack, and Dublin team-mate Bryan Cullen as captain, Brogan excelled in what was a sign of things to come for the Dubs as he became one of the best forwards of the modern era.

The St Oliver Plunketts/Eoghan Ruadh clubman's performances were so good in 2010 that he claimed Footballer of the Year despite Dublin exited in the All-Ireland semi-final but national success was only around the corner as he collected four Celtic Crosses in six years (and counting).

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