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Dublin: 5°C Wednesday 25 November 2020

8 players to watch in this week's Sigerson Cup quarter-finals

Sean O’Shea, Damien Comer and Diarmuid O’Connor are among the inter-county stars in action.

1. Sean O’Shea (UCC & Kerry)

Sean O’Shea misses a penalty Source: John McVitty/INPHO

WITH 0-11 FROM his first two starts as a Kerry senior footballer, O’Shea has quickly shown that he belongs at the top level.

The Kenmare centre-forward was an All-Ireland winning minor in 2016 and effectively spent the 2017 campaign ‘redshirting’ in Eamonn Fitzmaurice’s squad.

O’Shea is facing a busy schedule at the minute as he juggles his county duties with Sigerson Cup football for UCC.

2. Keelan Sexton (UL & Clare)

Gavin O’Shea and Keelan Sexton Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

Sexton has been one of the standout players in the Banner’s football squad since making his debut as an 18-year-old in 2015.

The exciting forward, who has boxed for Ireland at underage level, is studying law in UL and is one of their leading lights for the quarter-final clash against Ulster University.

He played a full 70 minutes for Clare in their heavy Division 2 defeat to Meath on Sunday.

3. Damien Comer (NUIG & Galway)

Eamonn Doherty and Damien Comer Source: Evan Logan/INPHO

The powerful full-forward is reveling in his new role as Galway captain.

The Tribesmen sit pretty with two wins from two in Division 1 and Comer has 1-5 to his name after two rounds of the league.

He hit 1-2 for NUIG as they swatted aside IT Sligo in the opening round of the Sigerson Cup and will lead the attack for the Galway college in Wednesday’s visit to the Mardyke to face UCC.

4. Conor McCarthy (UCD & Monaghan)

Conor McCarthy and Daire O'Baoill 23/1/2018 Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

McCarthy is the joint captain for UCD this year, alongside Mayo’s Stephen Coen in the absence of injured star Jack McCaffrey.

Monaghan ace McCarthy pulled the strings from centre-forward for the Belfield boys in their opening round win over Maynooth.

McCarthy clipped over four points and along with Laois forward Eoin Lowry, will be expected to carry the scoring burden against city rivals DCU.

5. Diarmuid O’Connor (DCU & Mayo)

Diarmuid O’Connor Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Fresh from his two-goal heroic sagainst Kerry at the weekend, Mayo star Diarmuid O’Connor is into Sigerson action with DCU on Wednesday afternoon.

Éanna O’Connor scored 1-3 for DCU in their three-point win over Dundalk IT last week, with his namesake Diarmuid employed in a link role on the half-forward line. 

After Ballintubber’s interests in the Mayo club championship were ended last October, DCU boss Niall Moyna gave O’Connor a few weeks off to ensure he’d be fresh for the start of this campaign.

6. Lee Brennan (Ulster University & Tyrone)

Lee Brennan Source: Philip Magowan/INPHO

Brennan showed flashes of his class with a six-point show against Dublin on Saturday night in Healy Park.

The young forward forced a fine save from Stephen Cluxton in the second-half and generally looked at home in the Red Hand attack.

Brennan also bagged six points in his last Sigerson game for the Jordanstown college – when they knocked out holders St Mary’s a week ago.

7. Gavin Crowley (IT Tralee & Kerry)

Gavin Crowley Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

In the likely absence of injured Kerry superstar David Clifford, IT Tralee will look to his county team-mate Gavin Crowley to be a driving force from centre-back against DIT in Austin Stack Park.

Crowley gave a very good account of himself on three-time All-Star Aidan O’Shea on Saturday night before he was sent-off for a second yellow card in the second period.

Fitzmaurice will be hoping he can avoid picking up an injury given his heavy run of fixtures in the past couple of weeks.

8. Sean Hurley (DIT & Kildare)

Sean Hurley with James Mitchell Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

Hurley is the only player on this list not currently plying his trade at inter-county level, but pulling off another good performances or two in this competition will do his chances of a recall from Cian O’Neill no harm.

The former AFL player departed the Kildare squad in February 2017 due to persistent injuries, but appears to be finding form at midfield with the college team.

“I am baffled how he does not play midfield with Kildare week-in, week-out,” DIT manager Billy O’Loughlin told The42 after their win over IT Carlow last week.

“He’s every bit as good as anything that Kildare have. He trains hard, he’s six foot three or four, he uses both feet, he kicks frees, he’s good in the air and he’s a good defender.”


Sigerson Cup quarter-finals

Tuesday, 6 February
Ulster University v UL, Jordanstown, 2pm
IT Tralee v DIT, Austin Stack Park, 6.30pm

Wednesday, 7 February
DCU v UCD, DCU Sportsgrounds, 3.30pm
UCC v NUIG, Mardyke, 4.30pm

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Kevin O'Brien

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