By John Brennan
UCC manager Shane Ronayne is quietly confident that his charges can end University of Limerick's reign as Gourmet Food Parlour O'Connor Cup holders.
The colleges clash this afternoon (SAT) for the right to face off against DCU or UCD in tomorrow's final, a tie that will be screened live on the Spórt TG4 YouTube channel.
The UL-UCC clash is a repeat of last year's decider, which saw UL claim a third title in four years.
But Ronayne, who's guided Tipperary to four wins from four outings in Division 2 of the Lidl National League, is no stranger to GFP O'Connor Cup success himself, as he was in charge in 2012 when UCC were victorious.
Ronayne, however, is aware of the scale of the task facing his UCC side at IT Blanchardstown, when they face off against a powerful UL side managed by DJ Collins.
Ronayne said: "Look we've a huge task against UL. We played them in the League and they gave us a hiding.
"They have a massive panel. I know a lot of them. They beat us in the final last year."
UCC saw off NUI Galway by 3-11 to 0-5 to book a spot in the last four, as Cork's Hannah Looney contributed 1-6.
Two-goal star Geraldine Power was another to impress while Power's Waterford colleague Megan Dunford and Cork's Libby Coppinger are other notable UCC players.
But Ronayne insists that League finalists UL and DCU, who are opposite sides of the semi-final draw, are the teams to watch.
He explained: "We've lost to DCU twice this season, we've lost to UL. They are the big teams and the two favourites for the weekend.
"They (UL) have got great drive about them. They have great players all over the field.
"They have a good defence and a brilliant set of forwards. We will have to work extremely hard, like last year in the final (and) it was a very tight game.
"If we can keep it very tight, then we've a chance in a semi-final like that.
"These weekends take on a life of their own. The favourites don't always win it.
"Look, UCC at the weekend will be a different animal and we might get going.
"The panel is building for the weekend and that is very important."
2018 GFP Ladies HEC O'Connor Cup Weekend Fixtures
Saturday March 10
GFP O'Connor Cup semi-final - DCU v UCD - IT Blanchardstown, 1pm
GFP O'Connor Cup semi-final - UL v UCC - IT Blanchardstown, 3pm
GFP Giles Cup semi-final - WIT v AIT - Abbotstown pitch 4, 2.30pm
GFP Giles Cup semi-final - MICL v DCU2 - Abbotstown pitch 5, 4.30pm
GFP Lynch Cup FINAL - UUJ/Garda v IT Sligo/DIT - IT Blanchardstown, 5pm
GFP Moynihan Cup FINAL - St Mary's/DKIT v ITT/LYIT - Abbotstown 3G pitch, 7pm
Sunday March 11
GFP Lagan Cup FINAL - UUC (Coleraine) v AIT2 - Abbotstown 3G pitch, 12pm
GFP Giles Cup FINAL - WIT/AIT v MICL/DCU2 - Abbotstown pitch 1, 2pm
GFP O'Connor Cup FINAL - DCU/UCD v UL/UCC - Abbotstown pitch 1, 4pm