Graham Geraghty will be a 40-year-old Sigerson Cup virgin when he lines out against Footballer of the Year Michael Darragh Macauley early next year.
Meath legend Geraghty, who turns 41 in May, has enlisted with Blanchardstown IT, whom he has previously coached.
The west Dublin outfit have progressed to be included in this year’s elite third level competition and were paired off with NUI Maynooth in yesterday’s draw for the first round.
It’ll be a baptism of fire for two-time All-Ireland medallist Geraghty as Maynooth boast an arsenal of inter-county talent in their ranks.
Dublin midfielder Macauley will be joined by Donegal’s 2012 All-Ireland winner Paddy McBrearty, Meath’s Eamonn Wallace and Kildare stars Paddy Brophy and Paul Cribbin.
And should social and community development student Geraghty prevail in the opening round, a glamour clash with finals hosts Queen’s University could await.
“It’s come as a bit of a surprise,” said goal poacher Geraghty. “I started college this year so it’s a learning curve. I didn’t think I’d ever play college football at any stage and it’s a surprise to be playing at this level.
“About 22 or 23 years ago I was actually meant to do a sports and recreational course in Colaiste Ide but I never did and 23 years later here I am.
“I’ve been playing all summer and I’d be fit enough and I have been looking after the Blanchardstown lads for the last three years so I’d have my eye on what’s coming up. It’s just a bit different when you’re playing with them.
“We won the Trench Cup last year but it’s a huge step up to Sigerson. Even in the league, Trinity beat us by a point and DCU beat us by two.
“We’ve lost eight of the team from last year and that’s a massive blow for a small college like us. But it’s a challenge and we managed to stay up in the league and that is progress.”
Considering Geraghty came out of retirement as a 38-year-old to play for Meath in the 2011 championship, it may be foolish to write off another inter-county stint.
But current manager Mick O’Dowd is keen on pushing ahead with new, young talent and his axing of experienced stars Joe Sheridan, Peadar Byrne and Brian Farrell was a clear statement of his intent.
Asked if beaten Leinster finalists Meath have quality young players coming through, Geraghty typically didn’t pull any punches.
“I have been at a lot of club games at intermediate and senior level and, looking at the games, you wouldn’t pick out a lad who would be a top inter-county player,” he said. “It’s up to Mick and the management team lads to mould these lads into better players. Hopefully they can do that.”
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