DCU still hot favourites despite doubts over Walsh and Boyle
SIGERSON Cup holders DCU are still in the dark over the availability of Cork star Aidan Walsh and Donegal's Michael Boyle for today's preliminary-round showdown with University of Limerick (UL).
Higher Education GAA sources indicated that they had received no notification of a reconvened Disputes Resolution Authority (DRA) hearing to discuss the pair's eligibility for the competition.
The GAA's Higher Education Board introduced a new rule last October, preventing players who have studied for six years or taken more than two college courses from playing third-level hurling or football.
Walsh previously enrolled in two courses at Cork IT, but is arguing that the first course shouldn't be counted because he didn't complete it. DCU officials were still exploring all possible avenues yesterday after a DRA hearing planned for last week was deferred.
DCU already have high-profile players like Donegal's Michael Murphy, Galway's Fiontain O Curraoin and Dublin's Paul Flynn, Dean Rock and James McCarthy, making them favourites to beat a UL side that includes Kerry's Barry John Walsh and James O'Donoghue and Galway's Paul Conroy.
UCC and UCD are also among those tipped to come through today's openers but UCC, who include Roscommon's Niall Daly and Tipperary's Peter Acheson, face a tough tussle against UUJ, who will have Tyrone's Mattie Donnelly, Derry's Chris McKaigue and Down's Gerald McCartan among their ranks.
Carlow IT, who include Wexford's Ben Brosnan and new Leitrim signing Cian Reynolds, take on Athlone IT, while Tyrone's Peter Harte leads St Mary's, Belfast against Tralee IT.
Meanwhile, UCD have had to pull out of the Bord na Mona Walsh Cup because of Fitzgibbon Cup commitments, so Dublin will play Galway in a semi-final at Parnell Park on Sunday.