Jamie Wall has taken over as Mary I manager from Éamonn Cregan. The reigning champions have lost Declan Hannon from last year’s team.
Still part of the set-up are Tipperary’s Ronan Maher, Limerick’s Cian Lynch and Clare midfielder Colm Galvin.
Daniel Nevin, who hit 0-13 for Galway during their Walsh Cup win over Laois at the weekend, will lead the visitors’ charge.
DIT lost all three of their Walsh Cup fixtures, while IT Carlow, courtesy of their wins over Kildare and Meath and stalemate with Offaly, have a semi-final against Galway to look forward to this weekend. Indeed, DJ Carey’s charges are the sole third-level outfit, in either code, to reach the knockout stages of any January competition across the provinces. Marty Kavanagh, Colin Dunford and Kevin Kelly are the mainstays in attack for the three-in-a-row league champions.
Probably the pick of the round, with these colleges serving up a cracking quarter-final last February UL shaded 2-19 to 3-11. UL fell at the final hurdle to Mary I, but can still call on Tony Kelly, Jason Forde, John McGrath, Gearóid Hegarty, and Stephen Bennett from that team. Conor Prunty and Mikey Kearney, both starting members of last year’s all- conquering Waterford U21 team, will feature for CIT.
Beaten semi-finalists last year, LIT will be expected to get their campaign off to a winning start against the 2016 Ryan Cup champions. The Bennett brothers, Shane and Kieran, are still part of the LIT furniture, as is Diarmaid Byrnes, Jamie Shanahan and Ben O’Gorman, the last named gettng game-time for Clare during this month’s Munster SHL.
DCU lost to Kilkenny, Antrim and Westmeath during this month’s Walsh Cup. Waterford’s Patrick Curran is the standout name on their team-sheet.
His Déise team-mate Austin Gleeson heads up the WIT challenge. Tipperary’s Liam McGrath and Tom Fox are two further WIT players with plenty of experience at this level.
UCC, who failed to progress from their group for the past two seasons, have a new manager, with Tom Kingston replacing Ger Cunningham. Colm Spillane and Waterford All-Ireland-winning U21 full-back Conor Gleeson backbone the UCC defence, Jamie Barron is still operating at midfield, while Alan Cadogan, Thurles Sarsfields’ Billy McCarthy and Waterford’s Mark O’Brien are three of the more recognisable figures in attack.
Belfield (J Keenan, Wicklow), 7pm.
Aside from their victory over Carlow during the middle of last week, there wasn’t a huge amount for UCD to take from the Walsh Cup. Oisin O’Rorke and DJ Foran tallied the bulk of their scores, while 2015 young hurler of the year Tadhg de Búrca is a new addition to their defence.