02 March 2009
Terryland Park in Galway will host the highly anticipated, College and Universities Umbro Premier League final between Letterkenny IT and University of Limerick tomorrow (Tuesday, March 3rd). The Umbro Premier League Final between the two sides has the look of a Limerick v Finn Harps League of Ireland clash with so many players attached to both clubs on view.
UL, through head of sport Dave Maheady and soccer club president Martin Hayes have developed a close association with the city’s League of Ireland club and several of the players are now on scholarship courses at the University.
While the Donegal college has always contained a large contingent of Harps players plus others who regularly line out for North West Irish League sides.
A new name will be inscribed on the trophy this year after UL ended UCD’s two year domination in the semi final.
The Belfield side had claimed the title in 2007 with a victory over Cork IT and retained it last year after a dramatic penalty shoot out against Colaiste Ide. Conor Molan has certainly had a roller coaster ride since taking over the manager’s role at the University of Limerick just after Christmas. Molan who played for a number of season’s in the League of Ireland with Limerick returned from a year long trip to Australia to find himself thrust into managerial hot seat at UL following the departure of long time boss Trevor Lovell for a coaching position in South Africa.
Lovell had managed to steer them into the last eight of Premier League and when Molan took over they faced a tough quarter final tie with IT Tallaght.
A Martin Deady goal from a free kick saw them through that one and set up a semi final clash with holders UCD. Substitute Bobby Tier was the hero in Galway breaking the Belfield sides’ two year grip on the title with a goal minutes from the end of extra time. UCD had bravely played most of the game with ten men following a opening minute red card for full back Daniel Lehane. Molan is hoping his squad are fully recovered following last week’s tough schedule of Collingwood Cup games in Cork.’We played four games in four days in Cork and ironically got knocked out in the quarter finals of the main competition by UCD.However we regrouped and were delighted to come away with the Bishop Farquhar Cup,one of the subsidiary trophies’ he said.
For tomorrow's final, UL will be boosted by the return of goalkeeper David Ryan, defender Paul Danaher and John Tierney in midfield.The Limerick League of Ireland trio were unavailable for Collingwood Cup duty due to the Irish Universities competion rules.While Nigel Stanley and Declan Rix are both out after picking up knocks in Cork and Martin Deady who has been suffering from shin splints should play. Manager Niall McGonagle will travel from Donegal with a full strength Letterkenny side which features the impressive Coleraine midfielder Gareth Harkin plus several experienced players who regularly line out for Finn Harps and Irish League sides.
Letterkenny IT v University of Limerick
(CUFL Premier Division)
Venue: Terryland Park, Galway