The quarter-final pairings are official following a blistering opening weekend in the 2020 Electric Ireland Sigerson Cup.
Expect fireworks next weekend when Dublin and Belfast meet head-on twice over for a place in the final four. UCD take on 2017 champions St. Mary’s University College following hard-fought wins over Ulster University and Maynooth University, respectively.
While, DCU survived a potential banana skin, scraping past Grada College to set up a clash with Queens University Belfast who impressed in their second-half showing to defeat TUD by eight points.
— GAA Higher Education (@HigherEdGAA) January 12, 2020
Out west, there’s a derby clash going down when IT Sligo, fresh of a strong win over UL, face Letterkenny IT who came away with an eight-point win over Athlone IT.
IT Carlow scored three goals, including a crucial second-half penalty, to defeat IT Tralee on the road with their prize being a chance to dethrone reigning champions UCC who overcame NUIG in a thrilling contest to round off an excellent weekend.
— Electric Ireland (@ElectricIreland) January 12, 2020
Here are some of the major talking points following Round One of the Electric Ireland Sigerson Cup.
Odhran Eastwood powers Queens home at The Dub.
The Belfast men had six points to spare in their win over TUD but it wasn’t until one Belfast man, in particular, got his shooting boots on that they pulled away.
The two sides were deadlock at half-time, however, Odhrán Eastwood scored 1-3 in nine second-half minutes to push the home side into a lead that they refused to relinquish.
The Naomh Eanna and Antrim player was electric in the second half, finishing a drop-kick to the roof of the net before nailing beautiful points off either foot to give Queens a great start in their search for their first title in 13 years.
— GAA Higher Education (@HigherEdGAA) January 11, 2020
Maynooth taught a lesson by budding teachers
Following a couple decades in the wilderness, St. Mary’s University College have proven themselves a force to be reckoned with the Sigerson Cup following a second-ever title in 2017 and a final appearance last year.
They show no signs of stopping in 2020 as a dominant win over Maynooth University sets up a mouthwatering clash with UCD next weekend.
Armagh and Crossmaglen’s Oisin O’Neill put in a monstrous shift at midfield for the teaching college kicking a couple of booming efforts in both halves. However, the most impressive aspect of St. Mary’s play was their dominant defensive showing that restricted Maynooth to nine points.
— Pundit Arena (@PunditArena) January 12, 2020
IT Sligo upset the odds
Boasting players such as Gavin White, Brian Ó Beaglaoich, James Carr, Keelan Sexton and Sean O’Leary, not many would have backed against UL in their Electric Ireland Sigerson Cup clash away to IT Sligo.
However, it was the Connacht college who came away with a three-point win in what proved to be the shock of the round.
IT Sligo now have a home quarter-final where they will be hoping to keep the momentum going against Letterkenny IT, a game that could go either way.
— IT Sligo GAA Club (@ITSligoGAAClub) January 12, 2020
Murphy’s winning start as a Sigerson manager
Arguably the best footballer in Ireland has proven himself to be a dab hand in management also. Michael Murphy took over Letterkenny IT in 2017 and led them to a Trench Cup win last year.
That qualified the Donegal college for the 2020 Electric Ireland Sigerson Cup and Murphy’s charges did not disappoint on the big day kicking 1-18 in their eight-point win over Athlone IT.
All bar two members of the Letterkenny panel hail from Donegal with many of them currently part of Declan Bonner’s side. They’ll fancy their chances of making the final four against IT Sligo at the weekend.
A mostly good weekend for Ulster Sigerson sides. A Michael Murphy managed Letterkenny IT win their first ever Sigerson game while there were victories for Queen's and St Mary's. Ulster University lose out to UCD after extra time.
— Niall McCoy (@McCoyNiall) January 12, 2020
Clifford can’t provide keys to the Kingdom
For every fan that thinks Michael Murphy is the best footballer in Ireland, there’s another who’ll tell you it’s David Clifford. That is the level of talent to which this prestigious competition attracts.
However, possessing the most talked about and dangerous forward in the game, IT Tralee fell to a home defeat against IT Carlow in the opening round.
Clifford hit five first-half points for the Kerrymen but they couldn’t stop IT Carlow from rattling the net three times in the second half to come away with a brilliant win in Austin Stack Park.
All over in Tralee and @ITCarlowGAA progress 3-9 to 1-13 over @ITTraleeGAAClub in the @HigherEdGAA Sigerson Cup with this second half penalty by Cian Farrell proving crucial. pic.twitter.com/6zelwUiB6Q
— kerrysportshub (@kerrysportshub) January 12, 2020
Champions prevail in dong-dong battle in Dangan
The opening weekend was rounded off with the game of the weekend as champions UCC came away from Galway with a one-point win to keep their hopes of back-to-back titles in check.
A litany of inter-county stars were on show in Dangan and it was the home side who started the brightest racing into a four-points to nothing lead. However, Rory Cunningham fired to the net to awaken the Leesiders before Meath’s James McEntee got in on the act to give UCC to quickfire goals.
— Electric Ireland (@ElectricIreland) January 12, 2020
Galway panellist Robert Finnerty was in great form for NUIG and pulled a goal back before the half to leave one between them at the break.
The two sides went toe-to-toe in the second half. All-Ireland club finalists Diarmuid O’Connor (Na Gaeil) and Kieran Molloy (Corofin) both hit beautiful points down the home stretch but it was the champions who held on to set up a semi-final with IT Carlow.
— The GAA (@officialgaa) January 12, 2020
Electric Ireland HE GAA Sigerson Cup Round One
Saturday 11 January 2020
Queens University Belfast 1-14 1-8 TU Dublin City Campus
Sunday 12 January 2020
Maynooth University North Campus
Maynooth University 0-9 2-14 St. Mary’s University College
AIT GAA Pitch
Athlone IT 3-4 1-18 Letterkenny IT
IT Sligo Grounds
IT Sligo 0-8 0-5 UL
Austin Stack Park
IT Tralee 1-13 3-9 IT Carlow
UCD Billings Park Belfield
UCD 0-13 0-11 UU (AET)
Dublin City University Sportsground
DCU 0-11 0-9 Garda College
NUIG 1-14 2-12 UCC
Electric Ireland’s Sigerson, Fitzgibbon and Higher Education Championship campaign, FirstClassRivals, showcases the unique trait of these historic GAA competitions that sees unexpected alliances form when fierce county rivals put aside their differences to play together, challenge together, and win together.
Electric Ireland is proud to support the Higher Education Championships and will live stream a selection of Fitzgibbon and Sigerson Cup games. Watch the games and follow the Championship at www.electricireland.ie/hec and be a part of the conversation on social media using the hashtag, #FirstClassRivals or visit @ElectricIreland on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.