By Shaun Casey
QUEEN’S University Belfast upset the odds last Tuesday evening when they overcame rivals Ulster University in the opening round of the Sigerson Cup. They’ll be the underdogs once again in round two when they host DCU, but QUB captain Tiernan Bogue is hoping that home advantage makes a difference.
“DCU had a massive win against Letterkenny, probably the biggest win of the round. We probably didn’t get any rewards for the upset, but we’ll look forward to it. There’s the added factor of being at home as well. So, hopefully playing at home plays a factor too.
“The arena, it’s a great surface but it’s a firm surface, it plays very fast as well so maybe getting the opportunity to train on it (helps). There’s always a wind in the Dub, it was a windy night as well, maybe that played a factor.”
That one-point win over UU handed Queen’s the bragging rights around Belfast but the Fermanagh native suggests his teammates won’t be boasting too much. Due to the backdoor system, there’s always the potential of another meeting.
“Queens are stereotypically the underdogs going into that fixture so I think you could definitely tell that there was a bit of a needle-edge to the game in the first 15 minutes anyway.
“At the same time, Jordanstown aren’t out of the competition either and no doubt they’ll be back. So I don’t know about bragging rights, I don’t think we can be going around letting them know about it. You just have to be careful what you say and who you say it too!”
There’s a lot of negativity that surrounds the Sigerson Cup and it’s place in the GAA calendar, but Bogue, who stepped away from county football this year to focus on his final year studies, believes it’s a “prestigious” and “unique” competition.
“It’s a very prestigious competition and you have a group; I’ve been on the Sigerson panel maybe three or four years and the circle changes put part of it stays the same every year.
“It’s that kind of small continuation that is almost gradually past down in a way. You’re playing with a unique combination of players and characters as well that you’ll never play with again.
“There’s a lovely balance between the social aspect and taking it seriously. You can see a lot of players feel they can express themselves and they’ve got young lads that are fit so it tends to be very fast, enticing football.”
Down legend Conor Deegan is the QUB manager and has been throughout the duration of Bogue’s Sigerson involvement. That continuity of having the same manager every year is a massive help.
“Before Conor came in, Conor and Damian McErlain came in when I was in second year but prior to that Queen’s probably had a habit of consistently changing the manager.
“I think having that continuity year to year, as I said, the group changes every year so if you’ve a new manager coming in, you’re basically starting from scratch. Having a bit of continuity and someone that maybe has the finger on the pulse of who’s at Queen’s, it makes a big difference.”