THERE’LL BE PLENTY spice to tomorrow afternoon’s Sigerson Cup ties in Belfield in Dublin and at the Mardyke in Cork.
There’s an all-Dublin clash at Belfield between UCD and DCU while the two third-level Cork institutions – UCC and CIT – will clash at the Mardyke.
Here’s eight players from the four competing sides who could have a decisive influence on the games.
Paul Mannion (UCD/Dublin)
Mannion announced himself on the senior inter-county stage last spring as Dublin marched to the Allianz football league title. By September he had an All-Ireland senior medal and in his debut Sigerson season, he is a superb addition to the UCD attacking ranks.
John Heslin (UCD/Westmeath)
Three years ago Heslin was part of a UCD side who lost out at the semi-final stage at home to eventual champions UCC. He’ll be eager to claim glory this season and the Westmeath man brings an array of qualities to the UCD setup. He provided evidence of his abilities when shooting over 0-7 in their opener against Athlone IT.
Michael Quinn (DCU/Longford)
With DCU shorn of some big names from recent Sigerson Cup teams, the value of Quinn to their cause becomes more pronounced. He has experience of this competition from last year and has a big game temperament from his time in the AFL and with the Longford seniors. A versatile operator, he’s been slotting into a half-forward position of late.
Conor McHugh (DCU/Dublin)
A 2012 All-Ireland minor winner with Dessie Farrell’s Dublin team, McHugh has stepped up as a key component in the DCU attack this season. He’s participating in the Sigerson Cup for the first time and the Na Fianna club player took the NUI Galway defence for 1-5 last week.
Eoin O’Mahony (UCC/Cork)
The only surviving member of the starting team from the 2011 Sigerson Cup final still in the UCC ranks, O’Mahony anchors the team from full-back. Was involved in the Cork senior side in league encounters in recent seasons, the Macroom club player offers strength and experience to the UCC setup.
Michael Quinlivan (UCC/Tipperary)
The 2011 All-Ireland minor winner is the only member of the UCC side that started against Trinity College last week, who is not from Cork or Kerry. He is a good focal for UCC’s attacking efforts and displayed his predatory instincts in bagging the only goal of the game in that match.
Pa Kilkenny (CIT/Kerry)
Glenbeigh-Glencar club man Kilkenny has been exposed to the senior arena in Kerry’s opening two league games, coming on as a substitute for Eamonn Fitzmaurice’s name. His role in the full-back line will be significant for CIT as they try to police a high-quality UCC full-forward line of Conor Cox, Quinlivan and Paul Geaney.
Cathal Vaughan (CIT/Cork)
Last Sunday, Vaughan caught the eye when sprung from the bench for his league debut for the Cork senior footballers. In his brief cameo at the end of the game, he posted two points – one from play and one from a free that he was fouled for. It was a continuation of sparkling form after bagging 1-6 in the Sigerson Cup against IT Carlow last week. He’ll be vital for CIT tomorrow.