One of the most overused buzz words in team sports, particularly during tournaments, is momentum; an essential prerequisite for success, although at times difficult to define. For DCU, their momentum, which has been building since day one of the season, could not be more tangible. On the eve of their Collingwood Cup first round tie with University of Ulster Magee at UUJ, they only have to look back five days to their seismic victory over IT Carlow in the CUFL Premier League semi-final, to draw on a well-deserved confidence.
Yet, in spite of just beating collegiate soccer’s most successful team of the recent years, the bookies only have DCU at 7/1 to win the oldest tournament in Irish third level sport. Not that the DCU squad and management will give this, evidently poorly researched calculation, a moment of thought. Defying the odds has been the hallmark of their season thus far, and what better occasion than this one to continue this unprecedented streak in the club’s history?
DCU face a Magee side on the back of a poor regular season showing; they only managed one win in their league campaign, finishing second from bottom in the Premier Division North. Success breeds expectancy, so anything other than a convincing win would be less than pleasing for Declan Roche and his team. The only omission from the DCU squad that beat Carlow, is top-goal scorer Michael Isichei, who signed professional terms with Longford Town and is subsequently ineligible for selection.
As acute a loss as this is, there are plenty of candidates within the squad capable of filling the sizeable void he has left. David Lodola, Darren Craven and Daniel Mahon could all prove suitable foils for the industrious Daniel Ahern. If DCU win tomorrow, they will meet the winner of UL and NUI Maynooth in the quarter final. Both ties kick off at 11am.
Elsewhere, Trinity take on Queens and UCC battle NUIG at 2:30pm, while the Royal College of Surgeons, UCD, hosts, UUJ and Mary Immaculate College have all received byes to the quarter final.