NUI Maynooth 2-19 IT Blanchardstown 1-5
Seven points from Meath star Eamonn Wallace helped NUI Maynooth ease past IT Blanchardstown in the opening round of the Sigerson Cup.
Footballer of the Year Michael Darragh McAuley netted one of the winners’ two goals as they recorded a 17-point win to book a quarter-final against Queens or GMIT. Maynooth’s star-studded line-up included senior county players in every line of the field. Playing with a strong breeze in the opening half, Maynooth were quickly into their stride, thanks to Paddy McBrearty’s point after 20 seconds. McBrearty landed three more in the first half while Wallace kicked four to give Maynooth a 10-point lead (0-12 to 0-2) after 27 minutes. Blanchardstown, featuring Meath legend Graham Geraghty at full-forward, struggled against the breeze and their sweeper system failed to cope against a team with so many attacking options. They were thrown a lifeline when Geraghty set up Leitrim’s Ciaran Gilheaney for a smashing goal on the stroke of half-time, to trail by seven points (0-13 to 1-3).
Maynooth completely controlled the game in the second half. Wallace was particularly impressive for the Kildare side, adding three more points from play against the breeze. The winners finished in style with two goals in the final two minutes.
McAuley netted the first after good work by Kildare’s Paul Cribbin while sub Lorcan Doolan slotted their second in the final minute.
Scorers for NUI Maynooth: E Wallace 0-7; P McBrearty 0-5; MD McAuley, L Dolan 1-0 each; P Brophy 0-3; E Lowndes, F Toolan, J Gonoud, D McNicholas 0-1.
Scorers for IT Blanchardstown: C Gilheaney 1-1; G Geraghty 0-2 (1f); F Andrews, D McGIll 0-1.
NUI MAYNOOTH: M Donnellan; C O’Shea, P Faulkner, D Hyland; E Lowndes, F Conway, J Gonoud; MD McAuley, D Kelly; P Cribbin, P Brophy, E Wallace; D Duke, P McBrearty, D McNicholas.
Subs: S Mattimoe for McNicholas, 37; F Toolan for Duke, 40; E Mullen for Conway, 45; R Kennedy for Brophy, 52; D McMahon for McNicholas, 55; L Dolan for Wallace, 55.
IT BLANCHARDSTOWN: M Carey; C Reddy, D McGill, D Stephens; E O’Connell, C McGill, J Meehan; J Comerford, E Mac Philbin; D Slattery, F Andrews, C O’Hara; C Gilheaney, G Geraghty, C Wilson.
Subs: C Jennings for O’Hara, 47; Gavin McCoy for Meehan, 47; B McNamara for Slattery, 53; K O’Donohue for Comerford, 53.
Referee: M McNally (Monaghan).
Sigerson Cup schedule
TODAY: First round
DCU v NUIG: at DCU, 2pm
NUIG advanced past IT Tralee in last week’s preliminary round clash, but DCU, who reached the O’Byrne Cup semi-finals, should be too strong. Dublin pair Dean Rock and James McCarthy are likely to be key while Conor McHugh and Jack Brady of Cavan are capable of getting scores too. Another Dubliner, Davy Byrne, at centre-back is also a shrewd operator.
Adrian Varley (Galway) was on form for NUIG in their opening game, and others such as Johnny Kelly and Daniel McNicholas, will also be key to their hopes of causing an upset.
Queen’s University v GMIT: at The Dub, Belfast, 2pm
The holders of the finals weekend, Queen’s got their campaign off to a winning start last week against UL and home advantage should provide them with a head start today. A strong spread of players who can score — such as Rory Grugan, Ryan Rafferty and Ryan Murray — means that they are not overly reliant on any one performer, and in midfield Martin McElhinney (Donegal) and Tyrone’s Harry Óg Conlon are a formidable pairing. GMIT didn’t fare too well in the FBD League, and will look to Galway pair Eric Monaghan and Michael Lundy to fire their hopes.
DIT v St Mary’s University College: at Parnells, 2.30pm
The holders are tipped to progress to the quarter-finals but face a real a battle. Offaly starlet Bernard Allen shone for them in the O’Byrne Cup while Darren O’Reilly of Dublin and Kildare’s Tomás O’Connor give their attack a potent look. Tipperary’s Peter Acheson is also excellent though injured Cork captain Michael Shields will be missed.
Tyrone’s Niall Morgan, Conor Clarke, Thomas Canavan and Danny McBride, as well as Aidan Forker (Armagh) give St Mary’s a strong spine but they will still be up against it.
Trinity College v UCC: at UL North Campus, 3pm
This game was initially scheduled for last week in Dublin but a playable pitch could not be found. It was then pencilled in for Mallow today before being switched again, to UL North Campus.
UCC’s full-forward line — Kerry duo Conor Cox and Tom Hickey and Tipperary’s Michael Quinlivan — is deadly, and they also boast Cork panellists Alan Cronin, Conor Dorman and Brian O’Driscoll. Mike O’Grady (Kildare), Luke Turley of Down and Offaly pair James and Paul McPadden are Trinity’s intercounty stars and Seán Murray won an All-Ireland medal with Dublin in 2011.
Carlow IT v Cork IT: at Carriganore, 6pm
Originally set for Cork IT last night, poor weather meant it was postponed. Cork panellists Donal Óg Hodnett, keeper David Hanrahan and Cathal Vaughan, as well as former squad members Rory O’Sullivan and Peter Daly, are key men for CIT. Their Rebel County colleague Brian Hurley is the focal point of the Carlow attack, assisted by Liam Boland (Carlow) and Tommy Boland (Louth).
Verdict: Cork IT.
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