Here are four players to keep an eye on during the Sigerson Cup, writes Larry Ryan.
Fergal Boland (UL/Mayo)
Boland was part of the UL team humbled by UCD at the semi-final hurdle last year. Since then, he’s won an All-Ireland U21 medal and made his league debut for Stephen Rochford’s senior outfit. He’s also played an integral role in returning UL to the finals weekend.
Although selected at wing-back for their opening game against Maynooth, Boland did his best work in the opposition half of the field, including three well-taken points. He was moved to wing-forward for their quarter-final against DIT, kicking two points from play in a low-scoring tie. Wherever he roams on Friday, the Aghamore player will have to be closely monitored as UL are at their most productive when he’s involved.
Kevin Crowley (UCC/Cork)
The Cork defender will be looking to bounce back from a disappointing outing at Newbridge last Sunday. He had been one of the county’s outstanding performers at Pearse Stadium the week previous and the form shown there could persuade manager Billy Morgan to entrust the 23-year old with marshalling St Mary’s talisman Cathal McShane.
Barry O’Sullivan and Jack Barry (UCD/Kerry)
Are we looking at Kerry’s future midfield pairing? Quite possibly, yes. Dingle’s Barry O’Sullivan, an All-Ireland minor medal winner in 2014, has been thrown in at the deep end during his first year eligible for Sigerson football and who better to show him the ropes than a fellow Kerryman.
UCD manager John Divilly realised the benefits of handing the number eight and nine shirts to the Kingdom pair and they have more than held their own on a team which is heavy populated by well know Dublin faces in both defence and attack. Barry impressed when introduced eight minutes into Kerry’s opening round league win over Donegal, while both saw game-time against Mayo at Austin Stack Park.