CUFL Quarter-Finals set for the New Year
With exam season in full flow, the football takes a hiatus for the next couple of weeks after five weeks of group stage action came to a finale at the end of November.
Determined by group positions in the Men’s Premier Division, Athlone IT’s Matchday Five win over Waterford IT meant the Midlands side would squeeze into the last eight and face a daunting trip to Dublin 4 to take on Diarmuid McNally’s UCD. UCD were flawless during the group stage, with five wins from five, twenty five goals scored and only two conceded. Captained by Gary O’Neill, the Belfield side will be optimistic of lifting the Premier Division for the third successive year.
On the previous two occasions, they have overcome UCC in the final and Noel Healy’s side will have a tricky assignment if they are to reach the semi-finals when they travel to Dublin IT in the New Year. The Grangegorman side have been impressive this term with the addition of new Longford Town striker Aaron Dobbs paying dividends as his five goals helped them to finish 2nd in the North group with their only defeat coming against UCD where they were missing their marksman through injury.
Elsewhere, University of Limerick have been in excellent form this season. They have maintained a 100% record with crucial victories over IT Carlow and UCC delivering top spot and they will face IT Sligo at home. Last year’s Division One winners have bucked the recent trend of promoted teams being relegated on the first attempt and results against fellow strugglers DCU and Trinity College maintained their status and make the cut for the knockout rounds.
IT Carlow will welcome Maynooth University down the M9 for their last eight clash in what is set to be a competitive affair. Both teams bring a wealth of SSE Airtricity League and Intermediate football experience to the table and it will certainly be a game for the neutral spectator.
The Women’s Premier Division will have to wait a bit longer to resume as they head straight to semi-finals in the second week of February. Last year’s Division One champions Letterkenny IT, appear to be in pole position to complete a remarkable back-to-back success. Johnny Baird’s side have only tasted defeat on one occasion since their return to Third Level Football in 2017. That defeat came at the hands of their semi-final opposition and current champions, IT Carlow. That defeat came in Carlow and the North-West girls will have the advantage of playing the game in Letterkenny where the IT Carlow Men’s team have already been knocked out of the CFAI Cup this season.
In the other tie, Maynooth University will host IT Sligo with a place in the final at stake. Maynooth manager James O’Callaghan will be hoping to regain the title his side last won in 2016/17 where they defeated their rivals from the North-West in the final. However, the sides last met in the last year’s Lydon Plate final and it was Sligo who prevailed with current player Rachel Kearns on the scoresheet.
Rustlers CUFL Quarter-Finals
Men’s Premier Division
University College Dublin v Athlone IT
University of Limerick v IT Sligo
Dublin IT v University College Cork
IT Carlow v Maynooth University
Men’s Division One
IT Tallaght v Cork IT
IT Carlow ‘B’ v Dundalk IT
IT Blanchardstown v GMIT Galway
NUI Galway v Letterkenny IT
Men’s Division Two
Galway Technical Institute v University College Cork ‘B’
Ulster University v IT Carlow ‘C’
Dublin Business School v National College of Ireland
Waterford IT ‘B’ v Maynooth University ‘B’
Men’s Division Three
Maynooth University ‘C’ v South West College – Enniskillen
IADT Dun Laoghaire v NUI Galway ‘C’
University College Cork ‘C’ v Rathmines College of FE
Dublin City University ‘B’ v Waterford IT ‘C’
Men’s Division Four
Dublin Business School ‘B’ v O’Fiaich Institute of FE
Dublin City University ‘C’ v Royal College of Surgeons
Dublin City University ‘D’ v University College Cork ‘D’
Waterford College of FE v IT Carlow ‘D’
Women’s Premier Division Semi-Finals
Letterkenny IT v IT Carlow
Maynooth University v IT Sligo
Women’s Division One
GMIT Galway v IT Blanchardstown
Maynooth University ‘B’ v University of Limerick
Cork IT v Trinity College Dublin
Dublin IT v Limerick IT
All Quarter-Final ties to be played the week beginning 28th January 2019.