Sigerson Cup: MTU Cork host UCD in the first round of games tonight

And UCC start their campaign against UL, last season's beaten finalists, at the Mardyke tomorrow night
Sigerson Cup: MTU Cork host UCD in the first round of games tonight

Rory Maguire in action for Cork during the Munster SFC semi-final against Kerry at Páirc Ui Rinn. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile.

IT’S an important 24-hours for Cork football in general and specifically for MTU Cork Campus and UCC who embark on what hopefully will be an extended Sigerson Cup voyage.

MTU are first into the fray tonight, when they host UCD at their Bishopstown complex at 7pm and tomorrow at the same time UCC face a Munster derby against UL, last season’s beaten finalists, at the Mardyke.

Cork manager John Cleary will be keeping tabs on both games as MTU and College supply players to the county set-up, which features a McGrath Cup tie against Clare in Cooraclare on Sunday as their next assignment.

UL also have a Cork contingent, including Darragh Cashman (Millstreet), while Conor Corbett (Clyda Rovers) lines out for DCU against ATU Donegal tonight.

MTU were represented by right half-back Rory Maguire (Castlehaven) and centre-back Sean Meehan (Kiskeam) in Cork’s McGrath Cup win over Kerry while Tommy Walsh (Kanturk) also came on in defence.

Paul Ring (Aghabullogue) is another with Cork senior experience with David Buckley (Newcestown) and Colm O’Shea (Kilshannig) other notable figures in a side also containing Sean Dore (Ballincollig) and Killian O’Donovan (Macroom).

Tipperary’s Conal Kennedy (Clonmel Commercials) and Kerry U20 Aaron O’Shea (Listry) also reflect the quality of player available to manager Pat Spratt and his selectors.

This time 12 months ago MTU defeated UCC at the same stage to ensure two further games in the competition though the UCD challenge is expected to be just as formidable.

The Dublin students had the league title in their grasp only for NUI Maynooth to snatch it away from them with a dramatic late goal in the final.

Kerry’s Ronan Buckley and former U20 Offaly star Cormac Egan, forward turned defender, provide an insight to what the Dublin students are likely to offer and they who also have Ciaran Sugrue and Daire Cregg from Roscommon as well as midfielder Jonathan Lynam from Tailteann Cup winners Westmeath.

UCC are coached by Brian Cuthbert with Billy Morgan as manager and they are gearing up for a major challenge from a UL side, which reached last season’s final, where they lost to NUIG, who meet Maynooth in another cracking first round tie.

The Limerick students won’t have David Clifford or Sean Powter in their ranks this year but are expected to mount another serious bid for honours.

College also have strong links to the recent Cork-Kerry McGrath Cup game, featuring Maurice Shanley (Clonakilty) and Dan O’Mahony (Knocknagree) from the full-back line along with Shane Merritt (Mallow), Fionn Herlihy (Dohenys) and Mark Cronin (Nemo Rangers) who came on as substitutes.

Kerry’s Ruairi Murphy (Listry) started centre-forward while Dingle’s Dylan Geaney appeared off the bench.

The Cork side are also boosted by Jack and Hugh Murphy (Eire Og), as well as club colleague Dylan Foley, and brothers Brian and Niall Hartnett (Douglas) with Tipperary’s Sean O’Connor and Riain Quigley in the mix, too.

UL are making great progress in football and reaching last year’s final was another significant step forward despite the obvious disappointment of losing out on an historic first title, especially with Clifford in their ranks.

Former Kerry under-age star Paul Walsh is a key figure in attack while their team features players from a wide spread of counties, including Mayo, Kildare, Clare and Louth.

First round losers have the consolation of a back-door route though the preferred choice, as always, is the direct approach in a competition that always excites.

Meanwhile, UCC and UL will be doubly engaged this week as they meet in the first round of the Freshers Championship in UL on Thursday. UCC qualified for the league final, losing to NUI Maynooth, who finished strongly to claim the title.

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