(Photo – NUI Galway)
NUI Galway face two crucial matches this week as their Sigerson and Fitzgibbon Cup teams continue their third level campaigns with home matches on Wednesday and Thursday.
2017 was a disappointing campaign for the footballers as they went out of the Sigerson Cup in the first round losing to eventual winners St. Mary’s University 1-9 to 1-7.
Under the guidance of Maurice Sheridan, Don Connellan and Paddy Cool, they will be hoping for better fortune on Wednesday when they host IT Sligo (2.30pm Dangan), who also fell at the first hurdle 12 months earlier to eventual finalists UCD.
Galway trio Sean Mulkerrin, Peter Cooke and Damien Comer will be key for NUIG as well as Sligo’s Gearoid O’Kelly-Lynch. Victory will put the Galway outfit into the quarter-finals on February 6th.
NUIG’s hurlers already saw action last Sunday when they brushed aside Trinity College 2-22 to 0-13 in Abbotstown.
Early goals for John Fox and Darragh Burke (who finished with 1-10) gave the Westerners the advantage leading 2-10 to 0-11 at half-time. But spearheaded by Galway seniors Sean Loftus, Padraic and Cathal Mannion, 10 unanswered points after the break gave them a comfortable winning margin.
However, in a round-robin event with four groups of four, the challenge increases with their remaining matches against last year’s finalists.
2017 runners-up IT Carlow are Thursday’s (2pm Dangan) and they started nicely avenging that final defeat with a 1-22 to 0-22 win over Mary Immaculate College, Limerick. DJ Carey’s charges are determined to go one better after causing a shock in last year’s campaign.
Mary I will be NUIG’s final opponents seven days later and a loss to the Carlow school will make this effectively a play-off. They reached the quarter-finals last year before Mary I won 4-18 to 1-16 and they’ll need to win one of their remaining Group D games to reach that stage again.
NUI GALWAY team vs Trinity College: S Hennessy; C Connor, C Cosgrove, B Fitzpatrick; S Loftus (0-2), C Ryan, P Mannion (0-1); B Concannon (0-2), S Fletcher; C Mannion (0-3), D Burke (1-10, eight frees, one 65), G Loughnane; J Fox (1-2), M Lynch (0-1), A Helebert (0-1). Subs used: C Salmon for Helebert (53).