Shane Bennett is likely to man the centre-back position for SETU Waterford against UCG tonight. Photo: Maurice Hennebry.
Today (Wednesday) – Fitzgibbon Cup GR. A in Dangan U.C.G V SETU Waterford 7 pm.
Gr. B – in Mary I. Grounds Limerick- Mary Immaculate College V Dublin City University 1 pm.
Thursday Gr, C in Maynooth Campus – Maynooth University V U,C,D, 8 pm.
Thursday –GR. D in U.L. Campus – U.L V TUS Midwest (LIT) 7 pm.
The Waterford College will line out in Fitzgibbon Cup under its new SETU label for the first time tomorrow with the hurlers making the long trek to Galway to take on a very fancied UCG side fresh from a first round away win over MTU Cork. The Galway college will be keen to make up for last year’s dramatic final loss to U.L. when Abbeyside’s Michael Kiely’s late goals gave his side the victory.
I have long been of the opinion that Fitzgibbon Cup players on county panels should be allowed to concentrate on their college games without involvement in preseason tournaments with their county teams as the college games are far more competitive and a better test of a player’s ability at that age.
SETU Waterford were narrowly beaten by today’s opponents in Galway at the same stage of the competition last year and this year they will field a more experienced side with many of the same players and hopeful of a better result. Of the current Waterford panel they will have Billy Nolan, Jack Prendergast, Conor Ryan, Rueben Halloran, Padraig Fitzgerald (Kilrossanty), Shane Bennett and Sam Fitzgerald on board as well as Ferrybank’s Mark O’Brien and Mouint Sion’s Alan Kirwan. The Galway college team will be made up of Galway players who have won Minor or U-20 All Irelands in recent years with current senior Conor Niland the big player in attack. It will be a big test for the Waterford side here.
Tomorrow will see Mary I. Limerick in action at home to a strong D.C.U. side in their second group game having come away from Carlow last week with a draw thanks to a late goal by Carthach Daly. Other Waterford panellists on the Mary I. Team include Cian Wadding of Roanmore, P. J. Fanning (Mount Sion) as well as Ronan Power and Cormac Power of Ballygunner. This is a game the Limerick side will need to win to be sure of progressing in the competition.
In Group C Maynooth almost caused a major upset on Thursday last when coming within two points of beating U.C.C. at The Mardyke despite finishing the game with just fourteen players. Lismore’s Iarlaith Daly went on as a second half substitute in this game. Maynooth will face a U.C.D. side for whom Paddy Leavey will be lining out alongside Abbeyside’s Mark Twomey and Liam O’Brien (Ballinameela).
Fitzgibbon favourites and defending champions U.L. were made to work harder than expected to overcome ATM Galway last week with Waterford’s Michael Kiely again getting in among the goals with 1-1 to his credit while Conea’s James Power registered a point on coming off the bench. They will be strong favourites to beat T.U.S. Munster on Thursday next.