UCD hot-shots begin bid to end Sigerson famine
UCD open their latest attempt to end their long wait for a Sigerson Cup title when they take on Athlone IT in the first round of the competition in Belfast this evening (throw-in 5.00).
The most successful team in the history of the competition, the Belfield outfit are enduring something of a famine, having failed to claim outright honours since 1996 when Meath great Trevor Giles was to the fore.
They start their 2014 campaign with a trip to face an Athlone side who were the competition's surprise packets last year, reaching the last four when they also acted as competition hosts.
Under the guidance of Martin McCabe once more, they'll look to Roscommon's Cathal Shine and experienced goalkeeper Gary Connaughton for inspiration but they face a UCD side that boasts a host of players with senior inter-county experience.
Westmeath star John Heslin captains the side while 2013 Dublin All-Ireland winners Jack McCaffrey and Paul Mannion are also included along with Laois' Paul Kingston and Meath youngster Padraic Harnan.
The hosts of this year's competition, Queen's, also open their campaign today with a preliminary-round clash against University of Limerick (2.00).
They'll be hoping Ryan Rafferty can repeat his McKenna Cup heroics where he bagged a hat-trick of goals against Donegal in their final group game.
The Munster side, who are managed by Liam Kearns, boast a current All Star in James O'Donoghue as well as talented Waterford man Paul Whyte and Monaghan veteran Dessie Mone.