Ireland’s primary intervarsity football tournament – The Collingwood Cup – kicks off in Belfield tomorrow with DCU taking on Mary Immaculate College in the opening tie.
The tournament, which boasts former players such as Kevin Moran and Conor Sammon, celebrates its centenary year this year having first taken place in 1914.
DCU go into the tournament on the back of a strong league campaign that saw them miss out on a second final in two years due to a 2-0 defeat against IT Carlow at the semi-final stage.
This year’s hosts, UCD, are the hot favourites (with most bookies pricing them at odds of 6/5 to claim a record-breaking third Collingwood in a row) but DCU will take heart from the fact that they ran the Belfield side very close in their Premier Division clash in early December, losing out 2-1 in a game that could easily have gone the other way.
Aside from a 4-0 loss to Maynooth earlier in the league campaign DCU looked strong in their other games, putting four past Letterkeny IT and five past UUJ within a week.
The Glasnevin side also overcame Collingwood second favourites UCC by two goals to one in the quarter-final in St Clare’s.
Tomorrow’s opponents, Mary I, are equally priced with DCU at 14/1 but have had a far from successful year so far. Competing in their second Collingwood Cup the Limerick side slumped to a disappointing second bottom finish in Divison One Group C without recording a victory.
A further confident boost for DCU will be the draw in which they have been pitted in what is, on paper, the easier side of the draw. Neither UCD are UCC can come up against DCU until the final with the winner of tomorrow’s clash against Mary I facing either UUJ or Royal College of Surgeons in Wednesday’s quarter-finals.
DCU-v-Mary I will take place at 2.30pm tomorrow while QUB-v-UL kicks off at 2pm and the final first round tie of UUJ-v-Royal College of Surgeons starts at 2.30pm. Defending champions UCD, Trinity, UCC, NUI Galway and NUI Maynooth have all received byes into the quarter-finals.
Image credit: Aidan Broletti