DCU will attempt to move one step closer to securing a third Sigerson title in four years when they welcome Queen’s University Belfast to St. Clare’s today, for what promises to be a keenly contested first round affair.
It remains to be seen whether or not Aidan Walsh and goalkeeper Michael Boyle will line out for the reigning champions, given that both were deemed ineligible to play in DCU’s opening fixture away to UL.
The pair were set to be involved in a DRA hearing on the eve of the UL clash, but that was deferred for unknown reasons at the last minute.
Both Walsh and Boyle are high-profile casualties of a new ruling introduced by the GAA’s Higher Education Board last October, which states that players who have studied for six years, or registered for two or more college courses, are ineligible to play hurling or football at third level.
Walsh, who is currently studying PE and Biology, had previously enrolled in two courses in Cork IT and thus cannot play Sigerson football for DCU, though that has not deterred Niall Moyna in using the Kanturk man for challenge games.
Boyle, who has two Sigerson winners’ medals to his name and was sub-goalkeeper in Donegal’s successful All-Ireland campaign, is similarly ineligible.
In any event, this will be Northerners first taste of competitive action for 2013 having withdrawn from the McKenna Cup, expressing unhappiness that a number of their college players had been named on county panels for said competition.
DCU, on the other hand, come into today’s fixture with the advantage of having a game under their belts, comfortably overcoming UL by 10 points, 1-14 to 0-7.
Though the home side delivered a gutsy first-half showing, Moyna’s charges upped the ante at the change of ends and a flurry of points from Michael Murphy and Philly Ryan all but ended the game as a contest.
Said players along with the likes of Johnny Cooper, Michael Quinn and Dean Rock should prove too much for an untested Queen’s outfit.
UCD, having eased past Trinity by 2-11 to 1-5, await the winners in the quarter-final which has been provisionally fixed for Thursday, February 14th.