DCU look to put on Sigerson masterclass

DUBLIN City University, hosts to this year's Datapac Sigerson Cup for the first time, must beat UCC to reach Saturday's final.

"This is a tremendous occasion for the college," said DCU Servicing Officer Tom O'Donnell. "It was our ambition to reach the concluding stages once we agreed to host the event, and it's a case of so far, so good.

"There is a great buzz on campus. Everyone wants to be involved. We have a very good team capable of winning our first Sigerson title, but UCC's track record is there for all to see and we know they will make it very hard for us."

DCU will be without Kevin Devine, who broke his collarbone in the quarter final against Garda College and is likely to be out of the game for the rest of the season.

UCC's chances may depend on John Hayes' availability. The Cork senior is having intensive treatment for a calf injury and would be a huge loss.

Waterford senior Liam Ó Lináin is another doubt. He is troubled by a similar injury. Neither he nor Hayes played in UCC's two-point win over Athlone IT last week.

The Cork students looked in dire trouble five points adrift at half-time after playing against the strong wind, but helped by a Fintan Gould goal, went on to win 1-8 to 0-9.

Having failed at the same stage last year to eventual winners Sligo IT, UCC will be keen to go one better, but they are up against formidable opposition in DCU, who looked very competent in their win over Garda.

They laid the foundations for victory in defence, which includes Dublin seniors in goalkeeper Stephen Cluxton, Declan Lally and Brian Cullen, who will captain the team, while corner back James Lambe, was another who played a starring role against Garda.

Monaghan senior Eoin Lennon, Mayo senior Conor Mortimer and Dubliner Bernard Brogan are others UCC must contain. Brogan was outstanding against Garda.

Despite the treacherous underfoot conditions, DCU played some great inter-passing football, and with their own pitch expected to be far firmer than Templemore, UCC could struggle to contain the home side.

The second semi-final is an all-Ulster affair between Queens and UUJ. They met at the same stage last year when Queens came with a late burst to steal the victory after Jordanstown missed a late penalty.

Both teams are rich in inter-county talent, UUJ having Peter Donnelly, Ray Mulgrew (Tyrone), John Bradley, Mark Lynch (Derry), James Colgan (Down) - who is this year's Irish Examiner Junior Sports Award winner for Gaelic football - and Paul Forker whose goal in the penalty shoot-out decided the game against St Mary's last week.

Jordanstown are coached by Micky Moran, the Mayo manager, while Queens are looked after by former Down stalwart James McCartan.

Queens, who failed to Sligo IT in last year's final, will be keen to make amends. Tyrone senior Leo Meenan will play with Queens, along with Eoin McCartan, Dan McCartan, Michael O'Rourke and Gerard O'Kane and Kevin McGrourty, the hero of St Galls' win over Nemo in last Sunday's All-Ireland club semi-final.

Jordanstown went to Sligo last week and beat the reigning champions on penalties after extra time, suggesting they are capable of atoning for last year's semi-final defeat.

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