Sigerson Cup will have a familiar winner as NUI Galway meet UCD in decider
Electric Ireland Sigerson Cup final
NUI Galway v University College Dublin
(Saturday, Santry Avenue, 2.30pm, live on TG4)
THE two teams at the top of the Sigerson Cup roll of honour will meet at Santry Avenue this afternoon to determine the 2018 winners of the famous competition.
University College Dublin, who top the table with 33 previous successes, will be aiming for their second triumph in three seasons while NUI Galway, for whom 21 of their 22 previous wins came under the University College Galway banner, are into their first final since 2003 when a certain Michael Meehan, ably assisted by Colm McFadden, fired them to the title at the expense of today’s opponents.
That was a low-scoring affair at Pairc Ui Rinn (1-8 to 0-9) but given some of the tallies these two having been putting up this year, a more open final is expected.
Both managed big scores in their respective semi-finals, although UCD’s 0-18 to 1-13 win over Ulster University did come after extra-time and extra extra-time.
Even with an extra 30 minutes of football, 18 scores had looked unlikely at half-time as, with the wind at their backs, they only managed three points despite having the likes of Con O’Callaghan and Conor McCarthy in their forward division.
O’Callaghan, making his first Sigerson appearance of the season, had a minimal influence on proceedings and it was left to McCarthy to raise UCD’s attacking game after the interval.
The Scotstown ace hardly touched leather in the first half but scored a series of inspirational points from frees and play before picking up a late black card.
He was the match-winner for John Divilly’s side but a lot of credit had to go to Kerry midfield duo Barry O’Sullivan and Jack Barry who won crucial kick-outs at crucial times.
Given that they hadn’t reached the final in 15 years, NUIG celebrated wildly at the end of their 2-12 to 0-15 semi-final win over Dublin IT.
Sean Kelly grabbed their first goal after a stunning pass from Enda Tierney with Eoin Finnerty scoring the decisive second 12 minutes from time.
Kieran Molloy made a great cameo from the bench but he will be unavailable, along with clubmate Liam Silke, as they will be representing Corofin in their All-Ireland Club semi-final against Moorefield.
Odds: NUIG:21/10 D:7/1 UCD: 1/2
AIB All-Ireland Club Football Championship semi-final
Corofin (Galway) v Moorefield (Kildare)
(Saturday, Bord na Mona O’Connor Park, 2pm, live on TG4)
A KILDARE side has never reached the All-Ireland final but Moorefield will be hoping that a visit from Christy Moore can help them continue their voyage against Galway outfit Corofin this afternoon.
Newbridge’s most famous son popped into Moorefield training a few weeks ago to convince the players that they were no ordinary men and were well capable of making history against the 2015 All-Ireland champions.
The fight they’ve shown all season would suggest that they have more than a chance too. That was never more evident than in the Leinster final when they trailed St Loman’s by six points with seven minutes remaining but 1-4 without reply – the goal from Ronan Sweeney – saw them claim their second provincial title.
Corofin haven’t been found wanting when it has come to digging deep either though with the Galway outfit grinding out extra-time wins over St Brigid’s and Castlebar in Connacht.
They were in action at the end of January too as goals from Jason Leonard, Colin Brady and Ian Burke saw them defeat British champions Fulham Gaels 3-8 to 1-4 in the All-Ireland quarter-final.
Odds: Corofin: 3/10 D: 17/2 Moorefield: 16/5
Bank of Ireland Dr McKenna Cup final
Donegal v Tyrone
(tonight, Athletic Grounds, 6pm, live on BBC Sport NI website)
COLM Cavanagh returns to the Tyrone starting line-up after his exploits with Moy, while Mickey Harte has named a much-changed side as they chase their seventh consecutive success in this competition.
Donegal boss Declan Bonner is expected to likewise with the game coming right in the heart of a crucial run of League fixtures. It’ll be two weakened sides in Armagh, but the Red Hands should have the more strength in depth.
Odds: Donegal: 13/8 D: 15/2 Tyrone: 8/13
Allianz Football League Division One
Monaghan v Kerry
(tomorrow, Inniskeen, 2.30pm, deferred on TG4)
THIS match was called off last week and 90 minutes of Sigerson action midweek will not have helped the pitch in Inniskeen, but the club have worked hard to get it up to scratch. Jack Barry and Barry O’Driscoll were two of the UCD players in that match against UU and although they were named to start for the postponed fixture, they may be rested with their Sigerson final on today.
Odds: H: 13/8 D: 15/2 A: 4/6
Allianz Football League Division Two
Cavan v Meath
(tomorrow, Kingspan Breffni, 2pm)
WITH this match twice called off last weekend, Meath manager Andy McEntee released his players back to their clubs for a round of league fixtures. That game would have kept them sharp for this match, although Shane Gallagher and Brian Conlon did pick up knocks. Cavan’s home record has been poor in recent years, but a win here will move them top of Division Two.
Odds: H: 6/5 D: 15/2 A: 10/11
Allianz Football League Division Three
Sligo v Fermanagh (tomorrow, Markievicz Park, 2pm)
FERMANAGH will have Ryan Jones back from suspension as they try to maintain their 100 percent record in Division Three. Sligo are managed by Tyrone man Cathal Corey and they put in a decent showing against Wexford in their last match having started out with a heavy defeat against Armagh.
Odds: H: 7/4 D: 15/2 A: 4/7
Derry v Offaly (tomorrow, Celtic Park, 2.30pm)
THE news that Niall Keenan and Ciaran McFaul have dropped off the Derry panel is a real blow as the Oakleafers chase their first points of the season. They look really short on defenders, but they should still have too much for an Offaly side that has lost to Longford and Fermanagh to date.
Odds: H: 2/5 D: 15/2 A: 5/2