UCD GAA footballers booked their place in the Sigerson Cup quarter-finals last Tuesday with a 0-17 to 2-7 first round victory away to Athlone IT (AIT). UCD started brightly, taking a two-point lead courtesy of Paul Mannion and Conor Sheridan, before Eoghan Keogh was called upon to save a penalty from Athlone’s Ger Egan.

Following a period of nip and tuck scoring, James Dolan raised a green flag for AIT just before the half-hour mark to give them the lead for the first time. However, points from skipper John Heslin and Mark Hughes ensured UCD went into the half time interval level with the hosts.

UCD began the second period with a bang, kicking five unanswered points in the half’s opening six minutes. They soon began to pull away, establishing a seven-point cushion by the end of the third quarter. A goal from Shane Quinn and a point from Colm O’Brien gave the Midlanders a glimmer of hope, soon dashed by Jack McCaffrey’s brace and another fine score from Heslin.

Cathal Shine of Athlone finished the scoring by blasting his goal attempt over the bar to leave the final score 0-17 to 2-7 in favour of John Divilly’s charges who in a fortnight’s time will face a quarter-final tie at home to either DCU, IT Tralee or NUIG.

It proved to be a very different week for the UCD hurlers compared to that of their footballing counterparts, with the Belfield outfit suffering an eleven-point loss in last Friday’s Fitzgibbon Cup group B opener away to UL.

After taking an early 0-1 to 0-3 lead, UCD soon found themselves struggling to keep up with the hosts who subsequently hit a purple patch of 1-6 without reply. Cathal Keane helped UCD peg back the Treaty City outfit’s lead by raising a green flag on 28 minutes, however, an over-dependence on the dead ball prowess of Wexford star Jack Guiney for scores consequently saw them trail the hosts by seven at the interval on a scoreline of 1-11 to 1-4.

Guiney raised a second green flag for the visitors six-minutes into the second period, but from that point on the Munster men began to pull further and further away with their prolific forward six of Forde, Heffernan, Collins, Malone, Stapleton and Glynn all chipping in to give their side a comprehensive 1-23 to 2-9 win.

Next up for UCD’s hurlers is their tie with Mary Immaculate, with a win essential to keeping their chances of making the quarter-finals alive.