UL take on last year’s Sigerson Cup Champions UCD in semi-final
This is UL’s second year in a row in the Sigerson Cup weekend – and with nothing to lose – we can be sure that they will throw everything they have at a star studded UCD side.
Paths to the Semi Final
Rd 1- UCD (5-16) – (2-6) IT Sligo
QF – UCD (1-18) – (0-9) UUJ
Rd 1- UL (3-19) – (4-15) Maynooth University (AET)
QF – UL (0-10) – (0-7) DIT.
UCD come into the semi-finals with strong wins over UCC and UUJ. Although they were expected to overcome IT Sligo, the ease at which they dismantled UUJ will be of concern to UL as the Ulster team were seen as realistic challenge to the Dublin College.
UL enter the finals weekend with impressive wins over NUIM and DIT in two tight contests. It is fair to say that in both encounters, UL were put the pin of their collective collars to advance.
In their opener, they came from behind to pip Maynooth in an epic struggle. Against DIT, UL used their experience to soak up waves of DIT pressure and hit them on the counter attack in a low scoring game. The game was grind but the type of game that definitely builds character and team spirit.
UL will also be hurting after the same opponents beat them at the same stage last year. It was widely acknowledged that the Limerick College never got to grips with the occasion that was reflected in the score line with UCD prevailing by 4-12 to 1-9.
Once again at the helm of UL’s Sigerson Cup team, manager Brian Carson will be expected to implement a game plan to prevent anything like last years drubbing to happen this year.
Many of last year’s players are still students and will look to showcase their talent once more. For UL, Gearoid Hegarty is the team’s star man. His performances this year have Limerick football fans wondering what might have been as Hegarty’s sole focus is with the hurlers for 2017.
Captain Cian Sheehan, from Newcastle West, who partners Hegarty in midfield as well as Mayo’s Fergal Boland have been instrumental for UL so far this campaign with their hard runs from the middle of the park.
These three were all involved last year and will use the 2016 defeat as motivation for this weekend.
UCD will look to the Dublin trio of Jack McCaffrey, Mick Fitzsimons and Paul Mannion once again this year in their quest to become the first team to retain the Sigerson cup since IT Sligo in 04/05.
Former footballer of the year McCaffrey will be especially keen to impress as he looks to make his way back into the Dublin team after a year long absence.
Interestingly, Kilteely / Dromkeen man Sean O’Dea will aim to topple the Limerick College for the second year running.
Although UCD are strong favourites to progress, we fancy a determined UL team to go a step further than last year and topple the reigning champions by the bare minimum.
Sporting Limerick Verdict: UL by a point.