The LYIT Sigerson Cup team
The Michael Murphy managed Letterkenny IT side take on Carlow IT tonight in Inishkeen, Co. Monaghan (throw-in 7.00 pm) in the semi-finals of the Sigerson Cup.
LYIT were too strong for their IT Sligo counterparts at the weekend while the Leinster college were surprise 3-9 to 0-14 winners over reigning champions, UCC.
But with a number of Donegal panellists involved and an important National Football League game against Mayo on Saturday evening in MacCumhaill Park, the scheduling of games is again in focus.
Commenting after the weekend game about the pile-up of fixtures Murphy described the situation as "crazy", noting that aside from the football - several of his team are also in the Donegal senior panel - the students also have exams.
He added that they were fortunate in that they had a good arrangement between the Donegal managers Declan Bonner and Shaun Paul Barrett.
"All the boys out there want is to play football but I suppose there needs to be a fixture calendar that allows that. But at least we're not clashing on the same day this time," quipped Murphy.
The other semi-final has a 6.00 pm start.
This is LYIT's first year in the competition, and they have gone from strength to strength.
Reflecting on the win over IT Sligo last time out, Murphy said: "Performance wise, it was probably our best this year."
And he continued: “Against Athlone it was really, really strong too. People didn't give us the credit we deserve because of the opposition but it was an accomplished performance thinking of where we have come from in terms of Trench football.
"The one thing is you would be so delighted with every one of them and I said it to them in the huddle there. It is just their attitude and application and that's incredible. They are all good footballers, yes, but as any sport will tell you, the level of ability will take you a certain degree but when it comes to days in January and the Sigerson Cup quarter-final, and you're playing away from home in Sligo against a team that has played Sigerson and you're only up from Trench, you need character and attitude in abundance and that's what I thought every one of the brought there today," he said.
The Donegal senior captain agreed that his side were very sharp in the opening half, especially up front.
"People will look to Michael (Langan) and Peadar (Mogan) and Eoghan (McGettigan) and maybe Michael Lynch, the four of our senior intercounty players; the four of them boys epitomise the group as a whole and the group that I have had for the last three years, not an ego amongst them. They get into the nitty gritty and the hard work and stuff every bit as much as maybe people expect they shouldn't have to do. But they do it and once the other lads see that and you see it yourself on the sideline, you're like gee, if them boys are doing it, everybody rows in behind it.
"We got the blend right between the running game and the kicking game and that opened up a few opportunities up top," he said, noting the input of Darragh Black and Eoghan McGettigan.
The manager also agreed that 'keeper Michael Lynch had a great game and pointed out that he has a history of playing outfield for his club and he has worked hard with the college and at county training with Donegal. "He has that physical ability to carry the ball and it might be hearts in the mouth stuff but by all means I would try to encourage it," he said.
Meanwhile, Peadar Mogan - who was once again a key figure in Sligo - was also well pleased with the way things had gone.
"It's a massive achievement. I think from the start when Michael (Murphy) asked us did we want to go to Sigerson, I think everybody was biting at the opportunity and chomping at the bit to get at it,” he said.
"It was really player driven; the boys really trained hard, they wanted to go twice a week. We said, no matter who we were going to play, whether it was the best team or the worst team in it, we were going to put our best foot forward," he said.
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