THE 2013 SIGERSON Cup throws in this afternoon.
Five first round games are down for decision around the country.
The preliminary round tie between UL and DCU also takes place.
Here’s a focus on NUI Galway, NUI Maynooth, Queen’s University, St Mary’s, Trinity College, UCC, UCD, UL and UUJ.
Who are their inter-county stars… Galway’s Gary Sweeney and Joss Moore, Tipperary’s Ciaran McDonald and Robbie Kiely and Westmeath’s John Egan.
What’s their history… NUI Galway have a rich history in the competition with 22 titles to their name, the last arriving in 2003.
How are the bookies rating them… 28/1
Where are they likely to finish… Managed by former Clare boss Michéal McDermott, NUI Galway do not have as many marquee names as other sides but can call on home advantage against a powerful Dublin IT outfit in their opening clash.
Who are their inter-county stars… NUI Maynooth have lost their Laois sharpshooter Paul Cahillane but Kildare’s Tommy Moolick and Meath’s Michael Newman remain key figures.
What’s their history… NUI Maynooth have won this competition once, in 1976, but have developed a fine tradition in recent seasons as they reached the semi-finals in 2010 and 2011, and last year lost the final to DCU.
How are the bookies rating them… 40/1
Where are they likely to finish… They have a good chance in their opening battle with IT Sligo and can at least count on home advantage for that clash.
Who are their inter-county stars… Derry’s James Kielt, Down’s Donal O’Hare and Jamie O’Reilly, Armagh’s Caolan Rafferty and Eugene McVerry
What’s their history… Queen’s University are eight-time competition winners. Their last success arrived in 2007 as they atoned for losing the three previous deciders.
How are the bookies rating them… 20/1
Where are they likely to finish… Facing the winners of the preliminary round game between DCU and UL will be a handicap given that both of them will have the benefit of match practice.
Who are their inter-county stars… The Tyrone trio of Peter Harte, Niall Sludden and Thomas Canavan along with the Down duo of Jerome Johnston and Ronan Sexton.
What’s their history… The Belfast-based college won this competition in 1989 when they got the better of UUJ in the final.
How are the bookies rating them… 14/1
Where are they likely to finish… They will be hopeful that they can make an impact with victory in their first round against IT Tralee an achieveable goal.
Tyrone’s Peter Harte will feature for St Mary’s. Pic: INPHO/James Crombie
Who are their inter-county stars… Meath’s Donal Keogan, Dublin’s Sean Murray, Fermanagh’s Tomas Corrigan and Westmeath’s Darragh Daly.
What’s their history… Trinity College have never won this competition but did reach the final in 1981 but lost out to UCG. They have been accustomed to playing in the Trench Cup in recent years and last featured in the Sigerson Cup in 2005.
How are the bookies rating them… 200/1
Where are they likely to finish… Negotiating their opening round hurdle is an extremely tough task given the strength of their opponents UCD.
Who are their inter-county stars… Kerry’s Peter Crowley, Roscommon’s Niall Daly, Tipperary’s Peter Acheson and Conor Sweeney, and the Cork pair of Jamie O’Sullivan and Eoghan O’Mahony.
What’s their history… The Cork-based outfit have won this competition 20 times and were recently crowned champions in 2011 with a final win against UUJ.
How are the bookies rating them… 13/2
Where are they likely to finish… The team coached by former Cork manager Billy Morgan have a potent squad despite the loss of some of their recent stars yet their opening tie against UUJ will be a demanding one.
Who are their inter-county stars… Dublin duo Rory O’Carroll and Craig Dias, Laois player Donie Kingston, Westmeath’s John Heslin and Mayo’s Kevin McLoughlin.
What’s their history… UCD are the competition market leaders with 32 titles to their credit but their last triumph arrived in 1996.
How are the bookies rating them… 7/1
Where are they likely to finish… UCD will be aiming to feature at the finals weekend and will start favorites for their opening round tie against Trinity College.
Who are their inter-county stars… Kerry’s Fionn Fitzgerald, Brian McGuire and Jack Sherwood, Galway’s Paul Conroy, Kildare’s Eoin Doyle and Tipperary’s Alan Moloney.
What’s their history… UL have never won the title and only contested one final in 1997 when they lost out to IT Tralee by six points.
How are the bookies rating them… 66/1
Where are they likely to finish… The side managed by former Kerry All-Ireland winning goalkeeper Declan O’Keeffe could not have asked for a tougher opening test as they meet the reigning champions DCU and are ranked outsiders for that clash.
Who are their inter-county stars… Derry’s Chrissy McKaigue, Down’s Gerard McCartan, Armagh’s Peter Carragher and the Tyrone pair of Conor McAliskey and Mattie Donnelly.
What’s their history… UUJ have lifted this trophy on five occasions with their last success arriving in 2008. They lost out to UCC in the final two years ago.
How are the bookies rating them… 12/1
Where are they likely to finish… Managed by Adrian McGuckin, last year’s semi-finalists UUJ have a strong tradition yet the opening encounter is a challenging one against UCC.