THE Queen’s hurlers will go in search of Ryan Cup glory this evening when they come up against Trinity at the Gaelic Grounds at 5.30pm.
After losing out to LIT Tipperary in the semi-final two years ago after extra time, the college made no mistake yesterday as they secured a 2-10 to 2-9 last-four win over Tralee IT.
Manager Sean McGourty will be particularly pleased with the battling display as Ballycran’s Cormac Flynn was sent off just before the break after picking up a second yellow card.
It was a massive body blow after the side had raced 1-7 to 0-3 ahead in the opening half.
They led 1-4 to 0-1 after the first quarter with Portaferry man Eoghan Sands grabbing their goal.
The Kerry side goaled just after the restart and were reeling in their opponents but Fergus Donnelly stepped forward to grab their second goal of the day to put them five ahead once more.
Tralee, however, continued to battle and they hit 1-1 to leave the minimum between the sides, but the Malone Road men held out to secure their spot in the decider.
Trinity, meanwhile, were more comfortable as they recorded a 1-13 to 2-6 victory over St Patrick’s, Thurles.
Like Queen’s, the Tipperary side went down to 14 men – this time early in the second half – effectively ending the game as a contest.
Galway man Darragh O’Donoghue was extremely impressive at the back, as he has been for the majority of Trinity’s Ryan Cup campaign while Brian Fitzgerald, from frees and play, provides a significant threat up front.
It will be a huge test for the Ulster side, but they have been holding their own in this competition.
On paper it’s their attack that looks like their strongest sector as they can boast Rossa’s All-Ireland Intermediate winning captain Chris McGuinness, Derry sharp-shooter Alan Grant and Sands. However, it has been their ability to keep things tight at that back that will have pleased McGourty most this season.
They were huge underdogs in the semi-final two years ago and Shane McGrath was the main reason why LIT Tipp’ eventually won on a 1-19 to 3-10 scoreline.
Some of the Queen’s players remain from that day and they have enough quality to once again show that they belong at college hurling’s premier weekend.
They’ll know more where they stand at around 7pm today when, they hope, Conall Morgan will be getting to lift the Ryan Cup for Queen’s.