Eamon Donoghue profiles some of the inter-county stars to watch out for in Athlone this Friday and Saturday - as AIT prepares to host the concluding stages of the Sigerson Cup.
Competition favourites Dublin City University (DCU) take on Dublin Institute of Technology in the first semi-final on Friday (12.45pm), with hosts Athlone Institute of Technology meeting University College Cork in the other semi-final at 2.30pm. Both games will be held on the AIT GAA grounds.
Michael Murphy (DCU)
2012 All-Ireland winning Donegal captain Michael Murphy has been the star of the tournament so far. The inability of UCD's Rory O'Carroll to get to grips with the big full-forward leaves little hope for other defenders.
Murphy's physicality and leadership qualities are key to a DCU side who are at their best when playing directly into him.
Aidan O'Shea (DIT)
Mayo's Aidan O'Shea has continued to improve on his excellent form in last year's All-Ireland championship.
He will be hoping to dominate the middle sector as he has done thus far in the competition. At his best, his aerial ability and physicality make one of the best midfielders in the country.
Peter Crowley (UCC)
Peter Crowley may not be grabbing the headlines with his scoring attributes but the tenacious defender is the leader of this UCC team.
Having recently broken into the Kerry senior side in the league, and a key member of their 2011 winning team - UCC defeated in the semi-finals that year - he will be looking to drive UCC forward from the back.
Ger Egan (AIT)
Ger Egan has been exceptional in the games thus far for AIT. Along with a number of other key men on the AIT team, the Tyrrellspass man will no doubt look to carry his side in the same fashion.
A great athlete, the Westmeath player hard work and ball carrying ability epitomise AIT's drive and determination.
*Eamon Donoghue from Taughmaconnell is a journalism student at DCU. He is a past-pupil of both the Marist College and Athlone Community College.
*See this week's Westmeath Independent for a detailed preview of this weekend's Sigerson Cup semi-finals and a report on the quarter-final between AIT and Cork IT.