University College Dublin and University of Limerick go head-to-head in the Fitzgibbon Cup Quarter-Final at Belfield, this Wednesday at 2pm.
The new breed of UCD hurling talent will need a big performance on Wednesday if they are to overcome University of Limerick and advance to the Fitzgibbon Cup semi-finals. University of Limerick came out on top by three points when these two sides met at the same stage in 2011 and another close match is expected today.
It has been twelve painful years since UCD won their last title, but they have a great chance to make amends this year. They are trained by the experienced Nicky English and the All-Ireland winner has a wealth of inter-county talent at his disposal. UCD comfortably topped Group C following wins over Limerick Institute of Technology and Dublin City University and will be confident that they have what it takes to defeat Wednesday’s opponents.
UL started this year’s competition as the bookmaker’s favourites, but UCD are a tough, talented side and a tight game is expected. UL won the competition in 2011 and look as strong this year as they did back then. However, they only finished as runners-up in Group D, after a three-point loss to Dublin City University and a comprehensive victory over St. Patrick’s Mater-Dei. The tag of favourites has now been given to UCD, and the pressure will be a tough burden.
There are no major injury concerns to report.
Players to Watch
Current UCD player Paddy Murphy was part of the UL side that won the Fitzgibbon Cup in 2011, but has since changed allegiances and will hope he can have a part to play in a UCD victory on Wednesday. The calibre of players at Nicky English’s disposal is quite frightening with household inter-county names like Tipperary’s Noel McGrath, Limerick’s Conor Allis and Kilkenny’s John Tennyson all available. However, any chance of a UCD win surely relies on the performance of the 2012 All-Ireland Hurling Final star, Walter White. He is an excellent hurler and will pose a serious threat to UL.
The UL squad is also bursting with talent, with Kilkenny’s Michael Fennelly and the Tipperary duo of Paddy Stapleton and Adrian Ryan. Galway’s Jonathan Glynn is another quality hurler and he is expected to play a big part on Wednesday. Perhaps one of UL’s bigest strengths lies in their management ranks, with Clare legend Brian Lohan having a positive effect on the squad.
UL have an excellent side and have been very consistent over the last few years. However, this is the most talented UCD side in recent times and if they perform to the best of their ability, it should be enough to advance to the semi-finals.