Preview: Electric Ireland Sigerson Cup quarter-finals:

Wednesday 8th February

Electric Ireland Sigerson Cup Semi-Finals

University of Limerick v DCU Dóchas Éireann, Netwatch Cullen Park, 6.15pm (TG4 YouTube)

University of Limerick will be hoping that lightning will strike twice when they play DCU Dóchas Éireann in this evening’s Electric Ireland Sigerson Cup semi-final.

They played the same opponents at this juncture of last year’s competition, and came out on top by three points.

On that occasion David Clifford was very much the star of the UL team, but this year they’ve proven they remain a serious unit even without the best forward in the game.

Players like Paul Keaney, Mark Lenehan, Paul Walsh, Ciarán Downes, and Emmet McMahon have all chipped in with scores for what’s a very well-balanced side.

They’ve travelled a hard road to get here too, beating a strong UCC team away from home in the first round, losing to fellow semi-finalists TU Dublin in Round 2 on penalties, enjoying a comfortable win over SETU Carlow in Round 3, before knocking out reigning champions University of Galway in the quarter-finals.

That victory was particularly impressive, as the UL players dug deep to see out the game in extra-time against an opposition team that included Galway stars like Matthew Tierney, Cathal Sweeney, and the Kelly brothers Sean, Eoin, and Paul.

Things won’t get any easier against a DCU Dóchas Éireann team that have their own galaxy of inter-county stars including Offaly’s Jack Bryant, Kildare’s Alex Beirne, Dublin’s Lorcan O’Dell, and Cork’s Conor Corbett.

Meath duo Shane Walsh and Matthew Costello are unlikely to play because of hamstring injuries, and Galway’s Rob Finnerty is also sidelined with an injured ankle.

The Dubliners have won all three matches on the way to this game by an average of 15 points which is impressive going, though you could argue they haven’t played the same quality of opposition that UL have and so are relatively untested.

The margins are always very tight at this stage of the competition, so don’t be surprised if UL end up playing extra-time for the third time in five matches.

TU Dublin v UCC, Netwatch Cullen Park, 8pm (TG4 YouTube)

There’s a recent scale to measure these teams by as they both played fellow semi-finalists, UL, earlier in the competition.

UCC lost to them by three points in Round 1 while TU Dublin beat them on penalties in Round 2. Those two games were contests of fine margins and suggest this semi-final will be something similar.

As does the fact that when both teams played ATU Galway in the earlier rounds they won by the exact same margin, seven points.

TU Dublin haven’t made it as far as a final for 10 years but they’ll take confidence from scalped big colleges like UL and UCD en route to this game.

They’re a nicely balanced team with capable forwards in the shape of Killian McGinnis, Robbie McAllister, Darragh Campion, and ace free-taker, Mark Lavin.

TU Dublin showed a lot of character to edge out UCD in their quarter-final victory, and you could say the same for UCC who are here courtesy of successive penalty shoot-out victories over Queen’s University and St. Mary’s University.

This UCC team is a very effective alchemy of Cork and Kerry footballers who play with the sort of spirit and practicality you’d always associate with Billy Morgan teams.

Cork county stars Daniel O’Mahony and Maurice Shanley are their main men defence, while Cathail O’Mahony is their sharpest blade in attack.

At times during this competition UCC haven’t always made a dominance of possession count on the scoreboard and have also conceded some soft goals. They can’t afford either outcome going into this encounter which is likely to be decided by a razor thin margin.