Reserves of strength can drive Moyna's DCU troops to Sigerson glory
THE Sigerson Cup has its detractors but for this weekend at least, it will dominate the football scene when the four remaining universities battle it out in Galway for higher education's blue riband football competition.
The bookmakers are clear on their verdicts, with a star-studded DCU side odds-on to reclaim the title they last won in 2010.
They have been deprived of Donegal's Michael Murphy through injury but boast two of Dublin's 2011 All-Ireland winners in Paul Flynn and Eoghan O'Gara in attack.
Needing to play two games inside 24 hours to lift the trophy, DCU's strength in depth could prove vital -- they had the luxury of bringing Roscommon's Cathal Cregg off the bench in their comprehensive quarter-final win over DIT.
However, Niall Moyna's side must first get past last year's finalists UUJ, who were pushed hard by UL first time out before digging deep to get past hosts NUI Galway in the last eight.
Tyrone's Mattie Donnelly was on song that day, with Donegal's Leo McLoone also key to Adrian McGuckin's plans to secure the Sigerson for the northern university for the first time since 2008.
Reigning champions UCC are on the other side of the draw where they face NUI Maynooth, who secured their place in the last four with impressive wins away to Queen's and at home to UCD.
Full-forward Mickey Newman from Meath has been at the centre of most of the good things they do, while Tomas Moolick of Kildare is also in good form.
But ousting UCC would be a major shock as the Cork men have secured a Sigerson title and a county SFC crown in the last 12 months; they also reached the Munster club final where they lost to Dr Crokes.
Mark Collins, who has been featuring for the Cork seniors recently, is the one who makes UCC tick from centre-forward, while Paul Geaney has a keen eye for goal.
They are expected to contest the final against DCU as they bid to become the first side to retain the title since 2005.
Betting (outright) -- DCU 10/11, UCC 5/2, UUJ 9/2, NUI, Maynooth 11/2.
Sigerson Cup semi-finals (extra-time if necessary): NUIG Sportsgrounds: UCC v NUI Maynooth, 1.30, S Carroll (Westmeath) ; UUJ v DCU, 3.30, M Duffy (Sligo)
Sigerson Cup final (extra-time if necessary): Pearse stadium: UCC/NUI Maynooth v UUJ/DCU, 3.0, J McQuillan (Cavan) *LIVE TG4