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Underdogs St Mary's have sights fixed on a further final fling

Like father: Jarlath Og Burns has inherited his dad’s skills
Like father: Jarlath Og Burns has inherited his dad’s skills

By John Campbell

Just as they did two years ago in winning the competition outright, St Mary's University College have to date proved the surprise packet in the Sigerson Cup.

Rated as underdogs in the two matches they have played so far, against Maynooth University and IT Tralee, St Mary's have made a mockery of the formbook to blast their way into today's semi-final meeting with holders UCD at Mallow.

Yet for all their courage and character to date, this could prove a defining tie for the west Belfast seat of learning.

UCD, taking their inspiration from Dublin All-Ireland winner Con O'Callaghan, have looked comfortable in reaching the last four and will certainly test St Mary's to the full.

The Ulster side, though, is not short on talent with Jarlath Og Burns, Shane McGuigan, Ryan Coleman, Liam Devlin and Niall Toner set to prop up their challenge.

Burns is proving a chip off the old block at midfield - his father is former Armagh skipper Jarlath Burns Snr - while Coleman and Toner are quality forwards who can both fashion and take scores.

Coach Gavin McGilly has watched the side blossom but concedes they will be up against it today.

Meanwhile, Cavan manager Mickey Graham faces one of the biggest challenges of his career when the Mullinalaghta side which he has guided to three successive Longford senior football titles takes on Kerry and Munster champions Dr Crokes in today's All-Ireland Senior Club Championship semi-final.

Mullinalaghta hit the high spots in conquering fancied Kilmacud Crokes in the Leinster decider while Dr Crokes eased to a nine-point victory over St Joseph's, Miltown Malbay to lift the Munster crown after wrapping up a seventh county final in nine years.

The Kerry side carry the favourites label into today's contest but this does not deter Graham from believing his side can land a fairytale success.

"We will be giving it everything," he maintains.

"This is where we want to be. As the team has progressed, the lads have gained in self-belief and now they are ready to do themselves proud."

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