Thursday 14 December 2017

Champions' star quality to prevail

Independent.ie Sigerson Cup semi-final

Jack McCaffrey Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile
Jack McCaffrey Photo: Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

Having won their first Sigerson Cup in 20 years 12 months ago, UCD come into the weekend as odds on favourite to collect back-to-back titles and extend their lead at the top of the roll of honour.

Much of that expectation is built on their surprisingly comprehensive win away to Ulster University, who were also fancied to go all the way but found themselves overpowered by the Dublin college.

A glance at their team sheet shows they have class littered throughout their side, with the likes of Dublin trio Mick Fitzsimons, Paul Mannion and Jack McCaffrey as well as promising Kerry starlet Jack Barry all showing up well at various times.

That leaves UL with an uphill task this afternoon, though it should be considered that they put a respected DIT side away in the quarter-final. They have strong performers in the likes of Gearoid Hegarty (Limerick) and Kerry's Michael Geaney and can ask UCD some tough questions.

Still, it's hard to look past John Divilly's Dublin side here.

UL v UCD, Connacht GAA Centre of Excellence, 4.00pm (extra-time if necessary)

Odds: UL 4/1 UCD 1/5 Draw 11/1

Verdict: UCD

Tally's 'saints' can push UCC to the brink

St Mary's caused something of an upset when beating DCU in Dublin after extra-time, and while they have some star performers in Tyrone's Cathal McShane, Down's Kevin McKernan and Armagh's Oisin O'Neill, that win was very much built on their collective power and a willingness to stick to a game-plan that sees them both defend and attack as a unit.

UCC struggled to break down the defensive wall IT Carlow set up in their quarter-final but the Billy Morgan-Tomás Ó Sé managed side finally progressed after extra-time.

They have some promising players such as Killian and Adrian Spillane, but are likely to be without Kerry's Bríain Begley through injury.

They will need patience and efficiency to get over this challenge and they might just manage it but the game will likely be a lot tighter than the odds suggest, with Paddy Tally's Mary's capable of another upset.

St Mary's v UCC, Connacht GAA Centre of Excellence, 2.00pm

Odds: St Mary's 2/1 UCC 1/2 Draw 15/2

Verdict: UCC

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