Queen's facing tough Maynooth assignment
Electric Ireland Sigerson Cup round one: Queen's University, Belfast v Maynooth University (tomorrow, the Dub, 2pm)
IN recent encounters between Queen's and Maynooth University it has been the visiting team that has retained their Sigerson ambitions at the full-time whistle.
While both are guaranteed to hold onto them tomorrow at the Dub given the new backdoor system in place, a third consecutive away win looks a very real possibility.
Back in 2012 Maynooth left Belfast with a 0-13 to 1-9 win and in similar circumstances – almost identical given the scoreline – Queen's won 0-13 to 1-8 against Maynooth down in Kildare three years ago.
Queen's boss Shane Mulholland will be attempting to lift his squad after a trying McKenna Cup that saw them lose heavily to both Donegal and Down while they only managed three points against Cavan.
They did have some decent performers across the games though with Daniel Guinness and Conor Martin showing glimpses of their ability while former Armagh U21 captain Callum O'Neill also showed up well.
Derry attacker Niall Keenan was unavailable to them in January but should feature tomorrow while Mulholland will look to other experienced heads like Oisin Lappin and James McMahon to give them a solid platform.
They will, of course, be without St Enda's duo James McAuley and Odhran Eastwood who will be on club duty against An Spidéal. Queen's did attempt to have the game pushed back so that the pair could play in both matches, but their plea fell on deaf ears.
Maynooth's squad features seven Ulster players in all – Cormac Cannon, Niall O'Donnell, Ethan O'Donnell and Kane Barrett from Donegal, Stephen O'Hanlon and Karl McMenamin from Monaghan and Sean Burke from Cavan.
They also possess some of Kildare's key players in the form of Daniel Flynn, Paddy Brophy and new Lilywhite sensation Jimmy Hyland.
That's a lot of talent to be bringing to the Dub and the fact that McAuley will not be there to pick up one of Maynooth's dangermen should rubber-stamp some more home discomforts in this fixture.