Sports Digest - 21/01/2014

UCD AFC manager’s future uncertainManager Martin Russell’s future with the club has descended into what is now an extremely precarious position. Russell, appointed in 2009 following a number of years on the coaching staff, has taken legal action against the club in the hope of being awarded either financial compensation or a new contract for the coming season.With the former St Patrick’s Athletic manager’s departure seeming an increasingly likely proposition, Aaron Callaghan has been widely tipped to take over at the Belfield Bowl. Should Callaghan be appointed, his opening league game in charge will be at home to his former employers from Dalymount Park on the 7th of March.The Students have also been hit with the loss of a number of high profile players over the off-season. Defender and 2013 Player of the Year, Dave O’Connor, joins Shamrock Rovers, midfielder Craig Walsh crosses the city to sign for Bohemians while captain Michael Leahy has linked up with Stuart Taylor in Limerick. GAAThe draws have been made for the 2014 Fitzgibbon and Sigerson Cup competitions. John Divilly’s footballers face Athlone IT away on the 28th January in the Sigerson Cup first round, while the hurlers have been drawn in Group B of the Fitzgibbon along with UL and Mary Immaculate College. Their opening fixture sees them travel to the Treaty City to take on University of Limerick.Having not won the competition since 1996, the footballers will be hoping to make amends for last year’s quarter-final exit at the hands of Dublin City University (DCU). With victory last in 2001, it hasn’t been quite as long since the Fitzgibbon Cup last resided in Belfield, nonetheless, UCD’s hurlers will be looking to go one better than last year’s semi-final defeat to University College Cork (UCC) and reach the final of hurling’s most prestigious third-level competition for the first time since 2006. HockeyUCD men’s hockey 1st team, currently sitting fourth in the Leinster Senior League top flight, will contest the semi-final of the prestigious Mills Cup with Rathfarnham outfit Corinthians on Saturday January 26th following a 7-1 quarter-final thrashing of Kilkenny.Should they progress, Scott Margetson’s side will face the winners of the other semi-final between Three Rock Rovers and Rathgar in what will be an all-Dublin decider. Five of the squad’s members have also received international recognition within the past month with Shane O’Donoghue, Nick Burns, Ross Canning, Peter Brown and Jeremy Duncan receiving call-ups to the national team’s mid-January training camp in Spain. In ladies hockey, UCD firsts continue to set the pace at the top of the Leinster Senior League Division 1 table with a three-point cushion over nearest challengers Hermes.