Third-level chiefs back panels to end eligibility rows
Published 26/01/2016 | 02:30
Third-level chiefs are aiming for an end to the eligibility rows that have dogged the Sigerson and Fitzgibbon Cups in recent years by requiring teams to name a 35-man panel in advance of the start of the tournaments.
Some high-profile rows have seen the competition delayed in recent years but at annual Convention, clubs voted in favour of submitting panels before the start of the independent.ie sponsored competitions. Only players named on those panels can play in the tournaments.
A change to the by-laws that determine what makes a player eligible to participate in the competitions was also agreed upon in an attempt to clear up the varying interpretations of the rule.
Last year, one case went as far as the DRA (Disputes Resolution Authority) after a row over player eligibility.
The action is set to get under way today in the Sigerson Cup with defending champions DCU amongst those in action as they welcome Westmeath's Athlone IT to Dublin.
DCU have lost a handful of the side that won in Cork 12 months ago but can still call on the likes of Laois' Colm Begley, Longford's Michael Quinn and hero of last year's final Conor McGraynor of Wicklow.
Reigning Young Footballer of the Year Diarmuid O'Connor is also included in their panel but it is understood that the Mayo forward won't be available until the latter rounds of the competition due to a hamstring injury should the north Dublin outfit progress.
Athlone IT made the semi-final of the Sigerson when they hosted the competition back in 2013 but they look up against it here even if they can call on Kildare's Daniel Flynn and one of the stars of Westmeath's Leinster semi-final win over Meath last year, Kieran Martin.
DCU have shown the better form having reached the final of the league and they can get their quest for back-to-back titles for the first time in their history off to a winning start.
Dublin star Ciaran Kilkenny will act as player-manager for St Pat's Drumcondra as they make their first appearance in the competition against GMIT.
Elsewhere, Garda College make a return to third-level football's blue-riband competition after winning the Trench Cup last year when they take on Cork IT.
The remaining fixtures see Trinity take on NUI Galway, Maynooth face Queen's and Carlow IT tackle IT Sligo.