St Mary's boss Paddy Tally hoping to have Tyrone contingent for Sigerson clash
Sigerson Cup round two: St Mary’s University College v NUI Galway (today, 1.30pm, Glenavy); Garda College v Ulster University (today, 2pm, Templemore)
ST MARY’S boss Paddy Tally hopes to have his Tyrone contingent available for today’s tough Sigerson Cup showdown with NUI Galway.
Conor Meyler and Cathal McShane both played a part in the Red Hands’ Dr McKenna Cup win over Derry on Saturday night, while Kieran McGeary was involved in Pomeroy’s heartbreaking All-Ireland IFC semi-final defeat on Sunday.
McGeary got a knock on the hip during that game against Meath’s St Colmcille’s but Tally is hopeful he will be fit to feature in Glenavy today.
Elsewhere, forward Oisin O’Neill was a key man as Crossmaglen progressed to the final of the Ulster U21 Club Football Tournament by holding off Stewartstown Harps.
The bookmakers have Maurice Sheridan’s NUI Galway as slight favourites, and Tally knows it is crucial St Mary’s have their big names lining out if they are to move into the last eight.
“It’s very important for us to have all our best players available – we’d be kidding ourselves to think we can do without them,” he said.
“We don’t have a very big squad so we need any player with quality and experience we can get our hands on. I haven’t heard of anybody yet who has been ruled out with injury so we’re happy enough there.”
The NUIG students impressed at times during the FBD League and boast plenty of quality among their ranks, including Galway forward Damien Comer.
However, St Mary’s can take heart from their own performances during the McKenna Cup when they beat Antrim before falling to narrow defeats against Fermanagh and Monaghan.
“I’d be happy enough at the way they came through it - we used around 30 different players across the three games, which is great,” said Tally.
“We knew a lot more about ourselves after the McKenna Cup than before it, but we expect a very hard game against NUIG. They have always been able to pick a very strong squad from that side of Ireland, a lot of boys form Galway, Mayo, Sligo and on down the west coast, Clare and even Kerry players.
“It’s Sigerson football and generally these early round matches can be very tight. We know we’re going to be up against it. The key tomorrow is to get the right combinations on the pitch, and also to have the right attitude for this kind of match.”
Down in Templemore, Tipperary meanwhile, Martin McHugh’s Ulster University are strong favourites to book their quarter-final place when they take on Garda College.
They will have to do it without a host of inter-county stars, however. Frank Burns picked up a knock in Pomeroy’s All-Ireland exit, Tyrone’s Rory Brennan sustained a shoulder injury against Cavan and will be sidelined for another few weeks, while Fermanagh midfielder Eoin Donnelly is also ruled out.
Donegal’s Eoin McHugh is a doubt with a hip injury, Mark Bradley took a heavy knock in Tyrone’s victory over Derry and may not feature, but the UU management are hopeful that Antrim midfielder Niall McKeever could return.