St Mary's College tipped to be a tough test for the UUJ stars
St Mary's College manager Paddy Tally has admitted his side face an enormous task in taking on the star-studded University of Ulster side today (throw-in 2pm at Jordanstown).
The two squads make for interesting comparisons.
While 'The Ranch' have a few established county footballers in their ranks with the likes of Down's Kevin McKernan, Ronan O'Neill of Tyrone and Armagh's Peter Carragher, for the main part they are backboned by younger players coming into county squads, such as Conor Meyler and Kieran McGeary of Tyrone.
UUJ can boast of a team of established county players, such as Antrim's Ricky Johnston and Niall McKeever, Ryan McHugh and Paddy McBrearty of Donegal and Killian Clarke of Cavan.
"They are a great team and they will go as hot favourites into the game and you wouldn't deny it," Tally said in the aftermath of last week's dramatic extra-time win over DIT at Garvaghey.
"All I could hope for is to recover the boys as best they can, they have a National League game ahead of them, and you hope that by Monday you can rub out the bruises and have them ready to go again next week."
Add to that the fact that Jordanstown are hosting the tournament finals this weekend and it gives them extra incentive.
"I think any team that is hosting the Sigerson wants to be part of the thing. Queen's last year came up a wee bit short. This year they are going very, very well," Tally continued. "Jordanstown are a really, really good team and they will want to be there.
"I think they are wise enough to know that they have to go out and play. Those things are incidental, any team nowadays understands that it is all about the performance and to make sure you win the game," he added.
Queen's are bidding to make it to their neighbours' weekend party by seeing off University of Limerick tomorrow (University of Limerick Grounds, 2pm).
They were rocked earlier in the week by expulsion from the competition for allegedly fielding ineligible players, including Marty Clarke. However, after an investigation they were cleared of any wrongdoing.
Meanwhile, GMIT defeated UUJ's hurlers at the Connacht GAA centre yesterday on a scoreline of 1-4 to 0-4.