A REPEAT of last year’s semi-final sends this year’s Umbro Leinster Senior Cup into overdrive as champions St Benildus College take on Collinstown Park CC in a mammoth first-round clash tomorrow
Kilmacud secondary school Benildus saw off the Clondalkin side 5-2 in last year’s final-four clash and former League of Ireland star Robbie Dunne will be hoping to mastermind some payback when his team travel down the M50 on Friday.
Oisin MacEoin once again steers the Benildus charge this season and if he has kept any substantial number of players from last year’s squad he will be hoping to build on the experience of an eventual penalty-shootout loss to De La Salle Waterford in the All-Ireland semi-finals.
It doesn’t get any easier for the winner of the tie, however, as another semi-finalist from last time out, Templeogue College, await in the second round.
Beaten by eventual runners-up Athlone in last season’s other final-four clash, Templeogue have already progressed thanks to a 2-1 succcess at home to |St Michael’s College.
The only consolation for each of these three major contenders is that they are far enough away from Oatlands College in the draw to avoid potentially meeting them until later in the competition.
The Mount Merrion school were stunned by a quarter-final loss to their local rivals Benildus during an otherwise flawless campaign last year.
Lucan Community College, who were decimated 5-0 by the southsiders in the |U19 Metropolitan Leinster League Division 1 final at the very end of the last schools calendar will testify that David Kelly’s side are the real deal.
The fluency and confidence that the team played with in every part of the pitch that day indicated that the retention of any of last year’s experience could combine with some fresh talent to deadly effect.
Elsewhere in the draw, the challenge of 2010 champions Salesian College cannot be underestimated and following their 2-0 opening-round win over Scoil Dara from Kilcock, they now face a fascinating local derby against Confey College.
Leixlip school Confey will be looking |to upset their neighbours’ successful heritage in the competition and will go |into the game confident after dispatching Scoil Mhuire CS of Clane 4-0.
Chanel College, Marist College of |Athlone and St Aidan’s of Tallaght are other sides to watch out for after impressive opening-round wins.