George ruled out as DIT play it safe
DUBLIN Institute of Technology have been told that Ballymun Kickhams star Sean George could face a lengthy suspension if he plays against holders Dublin City University in the semi-final of the Sigerson Cup at Athlone IT this afternoon.
Thus, George, superb for Kickhams in their victory over Dr Crokes in the semi-finals of the All-Ireland Club SFC last Saturday, will not be risked by DIT after it emerged that the defender may have fallen foul of Higher Education GAA rules relating to eligibility.
Even though George did not attend a previous course at Waterford IT, DIT's information is that he may, nevertheless, have been registered there.
And as George has played for IT Carlow and is a current DIT student, he would therefore be deemed ineligible under the same 'three course' rule that saw DCU pair Aidan Walsh and Michael Boyle banned from taking part in this year's competition.
A DIT source revealed: "We don't know fully the rulebook point of view, but he (George) is not going to play. We've been threatened that if he does play, he could face a heavy suspension."
George appeared as a substitute against NUI Galway in the preliminary round clash on February 5, but no retrospective action is possible, as any objection would have had to be filed within three days.
George did not play in the quarter-final victory against NUI Maynooth last week because of weekend club commitments.
And while Kickhams boss Paul Curran would have made George available for the Sigerson weekend, it is understood that DIT discovered as recently as last Monday that if he played, he could be open to suspension.
Curran, meanwhile, has confirmed that Dean Rock, James McCarthy and Davy Byrne will be allowed to line out with DCU, despite the fact that Ballymun are preparing for the All-Ireland final against St Brigid's on March 17.
Curran said: "They are free to play – and with our blessing."
Rock and McCarthy are scholarship students at DCU and are expected to play key roles in defence and attack respectively against DIT.
And while the trio were pulled from last week's Sigerson quarter-final victory over UCD, a game that was played just days before Ballymun's win against Dr Crokes, Curran has no issue with his players lining out for DCU this weekend.
Curran explained: "They (DCU) are in the community for a start and we get the use of their facilities on occasions, for the pool and that sort of thing.
"Ideally, most managers would like to wrap up their players, but the Dublin league starts on Sunday, so they would have been playing a game of football this weekend anyway.
"We're not going to wrap them in cotton wool for the next three weeks. We play Ballyboden away this weekend, St Vincent's in the cup the following week and we have Lucan after that in the league.
"We have a panel of players that we can use and we have one or two (All-Ireland final) spots up for grabs. We'll see who's pushing their heads up for inclusion.
"The competition is good and, with those games, it gives us a chance to see where lads are. It's good preparation for us."