DESPITE all the upheaval due to the bad weather, which led to postponements, shocking conditions for some of those games played, a combination of grass pitches and Astro surfaces, the Sigerson Cup is starting to take shape.
Third-level’s prestigious senior football championship should reach the quarter-final stage by close of business tonight as the outstanding round 2 fixtures are played on top of those pencilled in for last night.
Six teams are already safely tucked away in the last-eight awaiting news of the other quartet who’ll join them in the draw.
Defending champions University of Galway, who defeated David Clifford’s UL-Cork’s Sean Powter also involved- in last year’s final, are one along with St Mary’s Belfast and two Dublin teams, TU Dublin and DCU, who have Conor Corbett (Clyda Rovers) in their forward line.
UCC are hoping to join them. They bounced back from the opening round defeat to UL by accounting for ATU Galway in Tuam a week ago, winning by 1-12 to 0-8, and drew Queens, a game which will be played in Abbottstown tonight at 7pm.
It’s all-or-nothing for College, whose starting 15 against the Galway students included 10 players from eight Cork clubs and a handful of Kerry lads.
County champions Nemo Rangers were represented by defender Briain Murphy and attacker Mark Cronin with Eire Og also supplying two players, keeper Dylan Foley and the captain Jack Murphy, who was at right half-forward.
The others were defenders Maurice Shanley (Clonakilty) and Daniel O’Mahony (Knocknagree), midfielders Brian Hartnett (Douglas) and Shane Merritt (Mallow) and forwards Fionn Herlihy (Dohenys) and Brian Curtin (Kilshannig).
Two more saw action from the bench, Cathail O’Mahony (Mitchelstown), who came on at the three-quarter stage and was involved in the crucial goal scored by Sean O’Connor, and Ronan Dalton (Nemo Rangers), replacing his club colleague Cronin near the end.
Dingle’s Dylan Geaney top-scored with 0-6, five frees, with An Gaeltacht’s Cathal O Beaglaoich contributing two points from play and Herlihy, Hartnett, Cronin and Killian Falvey also posting scores.
O’Mahony’s availability is a major plus for the Cork students after concentrating on hurling with Ballygiblin until recently, when they went all the way to Croke Park to sample All-Ireland club glory.
Queens won their opening game against fellow northern side University of Ulster, winning by 1-12 to 1-11, but were on the receiving end of a right drubbing from Corbett’s DCU, who romped to a 3-14 to 0-5 victory.
Whether that’s indicative of Queens’ strength or not remains to be seen because there could have been outside factors at play, so their true form is probably somewhere in the middle.
The other game tonight is Ulster University taking on UCD in Jordanstown. The Dublin students defeated MTU Cork by 2-11 to 0-13 in round 1 on Leeside but lost to the holders Galway by 2-11 to 1-6 last week.
The Cork college also showed impressive form in recovering from that loss, denying the league champions Maynooth University by 3-14 to 2-11 on the 4G pitch at Abbottstown, when Barryroe’s Ryan O’Donovan kicked 0-10, half from play, and Paul Ring (Aghabullogue) and Dylan O’Connor (Boherbue) scored two of the three goals.
That earned a round 3 tie against ATU Sligo up country last night with the Cork students prevailing by 3-12 to 2-7, Eanna O'Hanlon (Kilshannig) among the goals.
UL were also involved hoping for better luck against SETU Carlow than they experienced in the penalty shoot-out defeat by TU Dublin in round 2.
The Limerick students also enjoyed home advantage again and their team included three players from Cork clubs, wing-back Darragh Cashman (Millstreet) and forwards Mark Lenahan (Buttevant) and Sean McDonnell (Mallow). Four second-half goals did the trick for UL in a 4-10 to 1-4 rout.
There’s a winner-take-all Freshers game at the Mardyke tomorrow night at 8pm between UCC and MTU as they both try to put one-point defeats by UL behind them in their quest to make the knock-out stages.
The outstanding quarter-final in the Corn Ui Mhuiri (Munster Post-Primary Schools SFC) takes place at 1.30 today in Banteer, where Hamilton High School Bandon meet the champions St Brendan’s Killarney for the right to take on Mercy Mounthawk Tralee in the last-four.
The other semi-final is an all-Cork affair involving St Francis College Rochestown and Colaiste an Spioraid Naoimh in Mallow on Saturday at 1pm.