NUI Galway sweat on Corofin star Kieran Molloy ahead of Sigerson Cup showdown
Electric Ireland Sigerson Cup: University College Cork v NUI Galway (tomorrow, 2pm, Mallow - deferred coverage on electricireland.ie/hec or Electric Ireland’s YouTube channel from 7pm)
WHEN you consider the personnel at their disposal and the one-sided nature of the two Sigerson results posted so far, it is no surprise that University College Cork start as such strong favourites against NUI Galway tomorrow.
However, the legendary Billy Morgan will not have learnt too much from 38 and 28 point wins over Athlone IT and Carlow IT respectively.
As usual UCC draw heavily from Cork and Kerry, with high-flying Kingdom stars like Sean O’Shea, Brian Ó Beaglaoich, Padraig Clifford, Conor Geaney and Padraig Lucey among their number.
There is also a sprinkling of top inter-county talent from outside those two Munster rivals however, including Tipperary’s Jack Kennedy, Meath’s James McEntee and Clare forward Eimhin Courtney.
In his 10th year leading UCC, the ultimate gift his players could give Morgan would be another Sigerson title to add to those won in 2011 and 2014, as well as the two collected during his own playing days.
Tomorrow, though, represents a significant step up in class when they come up against an NUIG side that has battled and scrapped its way to the semi-final stage.
Managed by former Mayo star Maurice Sheridan, the Galway students have bounced back from their opening extra-time/free-kick competition defeat to St Mary’s in impressive fashion.
Midfielder Peter Cooke - who has featured for Kevin Walsh’s Tribe side in the early stages of the National League - inspired them to a narrow victory over Queen’s in Belfast on January 23, and they haven’t looked back since.
Garda College were edged out next before Sheridan’s men stunned favourites Ulster University in Abbotstown, a Kieran Molloy goal helping them into the last four by the narrowest of margins.
Unlike Corofin club-mate Kieran Silke, who misses UCD’s clash with St Mary’s today, Molloy will be available for Sigerson action tomorrow afternoon - provided he comes through tonight’s All-Ireland Club SFC semi-final showdown with Ulster kingpins Gaoth Dobhair.
With his boundless energy and roving runs from deep, he is such an important player for the Galway outfit – they will need him, and all his team-mates, to be at their absolute best in Mallow tomorrow afternoon.