The DCU soccer team have been drawn against IT Letterkenny and the University of Ulster Magee in the CUFL Premier Division quarter-final and the first round of the Collingwood Cup respectively.
When the draw for the CUFL knock out stages were made on Friday, November 23rd, DCU and DIT were forced to wait until the following Wednesday to learn the identity of their opponents for the quarter-finals, because the Premier Division North still had a round of fixtures to play.
However, that period was extended another five days because the tie between the University of Ulster Magee and Belfast Metropolitan was postponed until Monday, December 3rd. The match between Queen’s University Belfast and University of Ulster Jordanstown went ahead as scheduled, ending 2-2. This left matters still undecided, with the possibility of three teams taking top spot.
Finally, the group reached its crescendo with Belfast Metropolitan College beating hosts, University of Ulster Magee 3-2. Still, some confusion ensued; it is CUFL policy that groups cannot be decided on goal difference, so a head-to-head rule is invoked, whoever won the fixture between the teams in question, finishes top.
So, although Belfast Metropolitan technically finished first with a superior goal difference of one, IT Letterkenny emerged as group winners, as they had beaten the Belfast side in their game last month, hence DCU travelling to Letterkenny on January 30th.
Despite the technicality with which the Donegal side earned pole position, they are not to be taken lightly. They won three from four games, finishing with a +3 goal difference, and reached the semi-final last year, so there will be plenty of big match experience in their ranks.
The compass of DCU’s season pointed North once more, when they were drawn against the University of Ulster Magee in the opening round of the Collingwood Cup, which will be held at the University of Ulster Jordanstown from February 25th-28th.
Declan Roche and his team will be quietly confident about the draw, as Magee only managed to win one of their four games in the CUFL, finishing second from bottom in the Premier Division North. If DCU do progress, the winners of UL and NUI Maynooth await them in the quarter-final.
The fresher side will also travel to Jordanstown, and have been drawn against NUI Galway in the quarter-finals of the Harding Cup.