The McGrath Cup reaches the quarter finals stages this Sunday with some intriguing contests on offer for Munster Football fans, none more so than in Pairc Ui Rinn where 2010 All Ireland Champions Cork face Clare. Waterford IT will be looking for their first ever McGrath cup win when they take on Tipperary in Clonmel, while the colleges of Cork, CIT and Munster club runners up UCC face IT Tralee, fresh from their first McGrath Cup since 2005 last weekend, and Limerick. All game kick off at 2pm
Cork v Clare – Pairc Ui Rinn, throw-in 2pm
Last year’s runner’s cup Clare will be looking to build on their win over University of Limerick last weekend when they make the trip to Park Ui Rinn to face Cork.
Clare will delay naming their side until Sunday but look set to hand a first start of the season to Liscannor forward Alan Clohessy with David Tubridy likely to miss out with a groin injury while Graham Kelly should be fit to start despite injuring his back against UL last week.
Meanwhile Cork have named their side and will be boosted by the return of Colm O Neill who returns for his first start for the Rebels since his cruciate ligament injury last summer. The Ballyclough forward lines up in a strong Cork side that contains all Ireland winners Graham Canty and Fintan Goold.
Cork, who beat WIT and Limerick on their way to a semi final loss to Kerry last year, beat Clare 1-23 to 0-11 in last year’s Munster Championship and all signs would point to another Cork win on Sunday despite Cork boss Ger O Sullivan says that result would have no bearing on Sunday
CIT v IT Tralee – CIT Sportsground, throw-in 2pm
IT Tralee will be looking to build on their two goal win over Waterford when for the second week running they hit the road, this time a semi final against Cork or Clare up for grabs, for the clash with Cork Institute of Technology.
Mikey Brennan and Alan O’Donoghue were the heroes last weekend, their early goals laying the foundations for a big win. Tralee led 2-08 to 0-05 at half time and despite a spirited second half from Waterford managed to hold on for a 2-14 to 0-14 win.
CIT, who narrowly lost to Clare 0-10 to 0-09 last year, along with UCC are the only college side to make the final and will be strong favourites heading into the clash.
Limerick v UCC – Rathkeale, throw-in 2pm
Limerick and Cork County Champions UCC both make their seasonal debuts when they clash at the Michael Neville Park in Rathkeale on Sunday.
Limerick will head into the clash without a host of regulars with Maurice Horan handing debuts to six players, as Eoin Barry (Dromcollogher-Broadford), Dara Treacy (St Kierans), Philip Maloney (Glin), Michael Quilligan (Newcastle West), Dinny Ahern (Kilteely-Dromkeen) and Donagh Kelly (Fr Caseys) all line out for their competitive appearance in the green of Limerick.
Horan, who has taken the unusual step of already naming his side for the clash, will be looking to Johnny McCarthy, Pa Ranahan and Ger Collins to provide experience to his side.
Monaleen stars Paul Kinnerk and Captain Ger Collins will both already be familiar with UCC following their extra time loss in Munster club championship.
Speaking ahead of the game, Horan was full of respect for the Cork University saying “They are the best college team in Ireland over the last year with a Sigerson Cup and then winning the Cork championship and reaching the Munster final against Dr Crokes,”
Last year Limerick lost out in the first round to Cork, losing 3-11 to 1-12 while UCC made less ground bowing out in the preliminary round to Clare by a goal, going down 1-13 to 0-13.
UCC however impressed on their march to the Munster club final before losing to Kerry side Dr Crokes 3-14 to 2-10 in the final
Waterford IT v Tipperary – Clonmel, throw-in 2pm
Tipperary will be strong favourites heading into their quarter final clash against a Waterford IT side searching for their first win in the McGrath Cup. Last time out John Evan’s side ran out 2-13 to 3-08 winners over Limerick Institute of Technology and will fancy a semi final shot against Limerick or UCC.
Evan’s side were giving a tough time by the students of Limerick with the Tipperary manager delighted with the performance of his “Limerick have a good bit done and a good few games played and we had to come in and try to get the lads together in a week and to play football. It is grand to talk about it in theory but doing it in practice is another thing”,
“But to be fair to them, it looked as if they were going to pull away from Limerick IT very easily. But Limerick are good and fit and had a good bit of work done. They came back at us and made us work very hard.
“It was probably good to be going in a point or two down at half time because it got our fellows to focus a bit.
The Ryan’s of Thomas & Eoghan, John O’Callaghan and Clonmel Commercials Michael Quinlivan all impressed last week however it was the experience of Barry Grogan will proved vital to the young Tipperary side and the forward will be hoping his performance leads to a starting berth in Waterford.
Waterford IT meanwhile are hoping for a first win in eight and will be looking to improve on last year’s 0-18 to 0-05 loss to Cork when they make the journey to Clonmel Sportsfield.
Semi-Finals (Extra time)
Sunday January 22nd
CIT or IT Tralee v Cork or Clare @ 2:00pm
WIT or Tipperary v Limerick or UCC @ 2:00pm