Tuesday 6 December 2016

Third-level rows bringing GAA into disrepute

Published 10/02/2016 | 02:30

A year rarely goes by without an eligibility dispute in either the Sigerson or Fitzgibbon Cup competitions. (Stock picture)
A year rarely goes by without an eligibility dispute in either the Sigerson or Fitzgibbon Cup competitions. (Stock picture)

Another third-level season, another row over player eligibility.

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Queen's University is at the centre of the latest controversy, having had three players suspended on the basis that they weren't eligible to play in the independent.ie Sigerson Cup.

A year rarely goes by without an eligibility dispute in either the Sigerson or Fitzgibbon Cup competitions.

Now, the actual games in the third-level championships may pass in a haze of indifference among the vast majority of GAA supporters, but they can't miss the annual codology over eligibility.

At central level, the GAA remains staunchly supportive of third-level activity, pointing out that it's crucial to the Association's health at a number of levels. Hence the continued refusal to even consider a change of date for Sigerson and Fitzgibbon as part of the plan to ease pressure on younger players at this time of year.

In return for having its privileged position protected, third level continues to serve up player eligibility problems. How difficult can it be to draw up rules that cover every eventuality? After all, the players are either students or they're not, so why the ambiguity?

Irish Independent

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