There were fears he would not be available because of Nemo Rangers’ All-Ireland semi-final against St Galls next Sunday, but Garda official Ronan Ruane confirmed the Cork senior will line out.
Ruane also confirmed that Padraig Mullarkey will play.
The Kildare senior retired with an arm injury against UCD in last week’s second-round tie, but the injury wasn’t as serious as first thought and he came on for Kildare in last Sunday’s League defeat by Monaghan and will take his place at midfield as the Garda College chase a semi-final place.
They looked extremely good against UCD and were well worth their seven-point victory, helped by a smashing second-half goal by David Fenton. Defensively, they are very strong with Joe Hayes a very dependable goalkeeper, Mervyn Lee solid at full-back and team captain Pat Kelly an attacking wing-back.
Galway senior John Devane is available, having missed the UCD game and with Masters, Vincent Hurley and Cormac Bane, who scored four points against UCD, all expected to start, there is a very solid look about this Garda outfit.
However, they are up against hosts DCU and will certainly want to be involved in the concluding stages.
DCU will be without Ross Munnelly and Diarmuid Kinsella, both ineligible, but still have a lot of quality.
Monaghan’s Owen Lennon, outstanding last Sunday against Kildare, Conor Mortimer (Mayo), Sean Johnson (Cavan), Kevin O’Reilly (Meath) and Dublin seniors, Stephen Cluxton, Brian Cullen and Paul Casey should give the students a slight edge.
UCC won’t know if John Hayes will play against Athlone IT until just before the throw-in. Hayes missed Cork’s league game against Kerry with a calf injury but is being given every chance to prove his fitness.
The Cork students, who must make the long journey to Athlone, looked a very competent outfit against NUI Galway in their previous round and with county seniors Michael Shields, John Whycherley and possibly Hayes in their side, they should stay on course for a semi-final place.
Athlone, forced into extra time by Cork IT in their last outing, did well to win that game, helped in no small way by Offaly’s James Coughlan who scored eight points, James Kavanagh (Kildare) who contributed 1-1 and Diarmuid Blake who came forward from centre back to score two excellent points.
It’s a difficult game to call but if Hayes lines out for the Cork students, they should advance.
Holders Sligo IT entertain Jordanstown in what should be the match of the round. The champions sparkled against Dundalk IT last time out and a repeat of that form would be good enough to see them through.
Their big men are Mayo senior Andy Moran and Michael Doherty (Donegal) who between them chalked up 1-6 of their 2-10 tally against Dundalk. Despite the presence of Paul Forker, who scored 2-1 in UUJ’s 3-9 to 0-16 win over DIT, John Bradley and Mark McNamee, it’s hard to see the Belfast students winning.
The all-Belfast clash of St. Mary’s and Queens promises to be a lively affair. Queens were excellent against NUI Maynooth in the previous round with Kevin McGourty, who will play in Sunday’s All-Ireland Club semi-final with St Galls, in sparkling form, as were James McCartan, Joe O’Kane and Ryan O’Neill.
Mary’s are also talented with players like Mark Donnelly, Gareth O’Neill, Leo Meenan and Ryan Keenan. But Queens, who lost to Sligo in last year’s final, look to carry a bit more power.