Defeat for LIT would mean they have to beat their neighbours from the local university in round three to stay in the title race. That would not be easy.
WIT were hugely impressive in beating UL last week and with home advantage, are unlikely to slip up. Kilkenny senior TJ Reid was their main scorer with seven points and LIT will have to put the shackles on him if they are to survive. Apart from Reid, WIT will also include Cork’s Fintan O’Leary and Waterford seniors Kevin Moran and Shane Fives. They should get at least the one point that would put then into the knockout stages.
However, LIT won’t give up their title without a fight. Despite losing several of the big name players from last year’s winning side, they still managed to put together a very good team which recently won the Division One league. Today is their first outing in the championship and Joe Canning (Galway), Maurice O’Brien (Limerick) and Jonathan Clancy (Clare) will have to be at their very best to get the result.
Garda College, who lost heavily to UCC last week, must beat Galway/Mayo IT this afternoon if they are to stay in the competition. Faulty finishing cost them dearly and they will have to improve in that department if they are to have any chance.
Barry Nugent (Clare), Mike Fitzgerald (Limerick), Mark Harrington (Cork) and Galway’s Ken Huban will spearhead their challenge. With home advantage, they should just about shade the issue.
In other second round matches this afternoon; UUJ play hosts to St Patricks/Mater Dei and, having suffered a heavy defeat at the hands of UCD last time out, the northerners are unlikely to deny the trainee teachers who will have Kilkenny senior Richie Power among their ranks.
NUI Galway were in Cork last week for their opener against CIT but came a cropper. They have the chance to get their challenge back on track this afternoon when they play Dublin IT in Dangan. Given the selection they have, they are unlikely to slip up a second time. The Galway side will include a host of inter-county players in Dave Barrett (Clare), Dara Egan, Colin Ryan (Tipperary), John Lee and Fintan Coone (Galway) which should be good enough to see them pick up the vital points.
The Sigerson Cup gets underway tomorrow with four first round games. This championship is being played on a straight knockout so with no second chances, expect some lively football.
Carlow IT, who host this year’s final, should get their campaign off to a winning start when they entertain their Dundalk counterparts, while NUI Maynooth, at home to newcomers Belfast Metropolitan College (BMC), should do likewise.
UCC face a tricky away tie against Dublin IT, but with Fintan Goold, Ken O’Halloran, Eoin Cotter, John Hayes (all Cork), Mike O’Donoghue (Kerry) and Brian Mulvihill (Tipperary) all expected to play, the university students should get their campaign off to a winning start.
Home advantage should be worth a couple of points to NUI Galway who entertain Athlone IT in Dangan.