Eight players to watch out for in the Collingwood Cup
The likes of Gary O’Neill, Sean McLoughlin and Conor O’Malley have endured the marathon of football that the competition entails before stepping into professional football both home and abroad. The 2020 tournament will be the 100th edition of the intervarsity competition and a player has been selected from each team as one to watch for the week ahead.
Aaron Connolly – Dublin City University
No, not that one! The Connolly family will be hoping for a DCU and Trinity final in Dalymount Park as his brother Dylan, a Harding Cup winner, will be lining out for the City Centre side. Aaron has come through the underage ranks at Shelbourne, having also captained the side and made sporadic appearances for the Senior team on the bench and in friendlies in the last campaign. An enthusiastic midfielder, the Glasnevin team will be hoping that he rises to the occasion against UCD in the Quarter Final and offer some positivity to a disappointing year thus far.
Cillian Duffy – Maynooth University
Duffy is one of Maynooth’s biggest threats going forward with the winger always good value to grab a goal or assist in the Colleges and Universities Football League or Leinster Senior League with Maynooth University Town. He has been capped at Colleges and Universities international level and represented Team Ireland in the 2019 Summer Universiade where he got the equaliser with a bullet header against South Korea in the 3-2 opening game victory. His pace and precision may prove to be key for Maynooth capturing their second-ever success.
Jack Keaney – UCD
The Donegal native (pictured above) is perhaps one of the more known characters to those uninitiated to Third Level Football having featured for Sligo Rovers in the SSE Airtricity League before moving to UCD in the Summer of 2019 ahead of beginning his Fresher year. He captained UCD to Harding Cup success already this campaign and will play a key role in the heart of the midfield during the tournament.
Jason Boateng – Trinity College Dublin
The Trinity captain will be a key leader for the hosts as they attempt to win their first Collingwood since 1979. He joined the University’s Leinster Senior League team in his Fresher year although left to join Athlone Town for a short spell. He returned back to Trinity soon after and has been an ever-present in the side since. A workhorse of a midfielder, Boateng will be keen to be a disruptive nuisance to opposing players and help get Trinity up the pitch.
Nick Beta – Ulster University
With the nature of the Collingwood Cup, the ability to score a goal out of nothing holds extra importance and for Ulster University, Beta could be the answer. The DR Congo-born striker is currently playing for Lisburn Distillery for the last number of years having joined from Glentoran. He has been a key figure for Ulster University in Third Level Football, readily providing goals as they got promoted from CUFL Men’s Division Two last season and are looking forward to a CUFL Men’s Division One Quarter Final later in February.
Rian O’Sullivan – University College Cork
An underage Republic of Ireland international, Tralee man O’Sullivan has returned from Brighton and Hove Albion having come through their academy. He is currently plying his trade with UCC in the Munster Senior League having begun his fresher year this term. His first exposure to the University cup marathon’s was ended prematurely in the Harding Cup this year after he was injured in their opening game against NUI Galway and the full back will be hoping to get as many minutes under his belt as the Cork side look to record back-to-back successes.
Ronan Young – Queen’s University Belfast
Like his Maynooth counterpart Duffy, Ronan Young is a Colleges and Universities international and an alumnus of the 2019 Summer Universiade. The Queen’s Left-Back is always eager to support his winger and whip in dangerous crosses. His educated left foot provides a danger for goalkeepers at free kicks and he delivered a special in the 2018 Collingwood Cup Final as he equalised against UCD in the Final. He has played a key role in Queen’s IFA Irish Cup run this season and was selected in Team of the Weeks for his performance in the giantkilling of Linfield. He will be warming up for the Collingwood with another mouthwatering Irish Cup clash against Glentoran.
Ryan Doherty – University of Limerick
UL have come very close in recent years to lifting their first Collingwood Cup, being beaten by an 89th minute winner from UCD in 2016 and a late equaliser and extra-time winner from UCC in last season’s final. They will be hoping to use that disappointment as fuel to launch another attempt at claiming the famous trophy. Donegal left-back Doherty was part of the Limerick side beaten in the Markets Field last year who also reached the CUFL Men’s Premier Division Final later on in the campaign. Currently playing for Janesboro and representing the Limerick Desmond League in the Oscar Traynor Cup, the experienced defender will be hoping to offer his team some assurances at the back and help them get going on the counter-attack.