Shorn Southside look too strong for Northsiders
DUBLIN North Colleges go head-to-head with their Southside counterparts in a preliminary quarter-final of the Leinster Senior Hurling 'A' Colleges (Corn Uí Dhúill) at Parnell Park tomorrow.
Both sides experienced frustrating league campaigns with Dublin South eventually confirming their play-off spot with a comfortable 2-14 to 0-4 win over Westmeath Schools last month, while Dublin North received a bye following Carlow Schools' inability to field a team.
Dublin South, managed by Martin McKenna, are restricted in their selection with Coláiste Eoin's participation in the championship depriving the Southsiders of players of the calibre of Cian O'Callaghan, Colm Cronin, Robert Murphy, Donal Gormley and Oisín O'Rorke, but there is still a wealth of talent at his disposal.
Full-back Ross Tierney has been especially solid for a well-balanced side who are made up of students from traditional strongholds such as Coláiste Éanna and St Benildus in addition to less established schools as Gonzaga, CBC Monkstown and Terenure College.
Éanna, who won the Dublin 'A' title last month, provide a number of McKenna's shining lights with last year's Dublin minor Jamie Desmond continuing to impress from centre-back and his Ballyboden St Enda's club-mates Paul Doherty, Naoise Greene and James Roche have all made valuable contributions to date.
Dublin South's well-being is reflected in challenge match wins over Boden's U21s, the St Pat's College (Drumcondra) Freshers side and De La Salle Waterford and they'll need to replicate that form to overcome what is on paper an excellent Dublin North selection.
The likes of Ciarán Kilkenny, Cormac Costello, Paul Winters, Conor McHugh and Seánie McClelland all played starring roles in Dublin's run to the All-Ireland final last year while Graham Williams and AJ Murphy showed well in their earlier win over Birr CS, with McKenna well aware of the threat they possess.
"We're really looking forward to the game and we're delighted that Parnell Park has been chosen as the venue as it's given the lads a huge lift," said McKenna.
"Dublin North will be very strong but I genuinely think there will only be a puck of a ball between us on the day."
VERDICT: Dublin South