Queen's take confidence from derby win into DCU clash: Bogue
Electric Ireland Sigerson Cup round two: Queen’s University, Belfast v Dublin City University (Thursday, 7pm, The Dub - livestream on electricireland.ie or www.youtube.com/electricireland)
TIARNAN Bogue has become used to finding calm in the centre of a storm. When last week’s Sigerson Cup clash with Ulster University was still in the mix heading towards the dramatic final minutes, their captain’s composure helped steady the Queen’s ship.
UU’s shooting became increasingly erratic as the finishing line neared, with Ben McCarron, Darragh Canavan and Aodhan Donaghy all passing up opportunities. At the other end, meanwhile, Diarmuid Baker and substitute Fintan Canavan made no mistake to land what proved the winning scores for Queen’s.
Coming up trumps in that Belfast derby was a huge buzz for Bogue – but the next day it was straight back to work, and placement at a GP surgery in Bangor.
In the fifth and final year of a medicine degree, the Tempo man has had to learn in unprecedented times – mostly between hospitals in Belfast and the South Western Acute Hospital - with health service resources stretched to the limit as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Cool under pressure then, cool under pressure now, those experiences make poise and perspective easier to come by when the heat comes on between the white lines.
“We were on placement when the pandemic hit, so if you were working you’d be out in it, PPE’d up the whole time,” said the 24-year-old.
“It was a steep learning curve but then I didn’t really have anything to compare it to – it probably did deny us some opportunities, getting to see different stuff, because a lot of clinics and appointments were cancelled.
“It’s settling down, but I’d say it’ll be like that for a while yet.”
As final exams loom in February, inter-county involvement with Fermanagh has had to take a back seat. Perhaps for that reason, and the fact it’s his and several others’ final year at Queen’s, this Sigerson campaign has assumed added significance.
Last year Conor Deegan’s men bowed out to a David Clifford-inspired University of Limerick at the quarter-final stage, while Covid forced the competition’s abandonment at the start of 2021.
In Bogue’s first year, Queen’s suffered a 26-point defeat at the hands of eventual champions DCU – and their reward for last Tuesday’s win is another shot at Paddy Christie’s students.
DCU proved far too strong for ATU Donegal in their first round outing, but Bogue believes Queen’s can take huge heart from the manner of their own opening day win.
“The nature of the fixture, from our end, it sort of felt do-or-die.
“We’re always in the shadow of Jordanstown a bit, so we probably went into the game with a chip on our shoulder. We’re fully aware Jordanstown haven’t gone anywhere either, so we can’t get carried away.
“Possibly we’ve been accused of not having that togetherness or cohesion of St Mary’s, and maybe not having the quality of Jordanstown, but I definitely think this group has the best of both.
“The Christmas break was massive, thankfully we had two or three challenge games lined up, so we’ve had that familiarity of starting to play together and working things out. That was a big difference.”
Unfortunately Thursday night’s game is likely to come too soon for Burren’s Peter Fegan, who picked up an injury in Down’s McKenna Cup game against Donegal days before the UU clash. Padraig Purcell - who was introduced before half-time last week - will also have an eye on Kilmacud Crokes’ All-Ireland club final date with Glen on Sunday, having come on as a late sub in the Dublin kingpins’ semi-final victory over Kerins O’Rahilly’s.
And, although their opponents have the likes of Galway forward Rob Finnerty among their ranks, Bogue insists Queen’s are relishing the challenge.
“I think that’s maybe where the Jordanstown game will have instilled a bit of belief.
“The nature of our team, we’ve a lot of final year students, we’ve been together for a while, then you’ve a good group of second years coming in, which has added to it.
“DCU were probably the team of the round last time but, much the same as the Jordanstown game, we’re delighted this one is at The Dub.
“For a lot of the boys, including myself, it’s probably the last Sigerson game they’ll ever get to play at The Dub, win, lose, or draw, because it’s neutral venues after that. So hopefully we can make it count.”