Tuesday 12 November 2019

Fitzgibbon final lost in packed weekend

Jake Dillon, WIT, in action against Gearoid Ryan, UL
Jake Dillon, WIT, in action against Gearoid Ryan, UL

Michael McCarthy

It was just one of those weekends. The kind that makes you grateful to be a sports fan.

Between the Six Nations, the League Cup Final, Liverpool beating Manchester City, Kerry beating Dublin, Carl Frampton in Belfast and Padraig Harrington in Florida, it was an exhausting, pulsating couple of days.

Lost in it all, perhaps unsurprisingly, was the thrilling Fitzgibbon Cup final between the University of Limerick and Waterford IT, which ended in a draw after extra time.

Colleges GAA is perhaps Irish sport's hidden gem. The best young players in the country, along with future stars of the game, often from neighbouring and rivalling counties, team up and play in competitions they take extremely seriously, but mostly in front of minuscule crowds.

Maybe we'll never have the school allegiance of big American colleges, but shouldn't that be the template, even on a smaller scale?

There has to be a market out there for the best hurlers and footballers in the country playing in be-all, end-all tournaments at this time of year, when the county game is merely shadow boxing.

The problem is it can't be made into anything more within the current system. Games are played during working hours midweek because counties can't be without their stars at the early stages of the National Leagues. The GAA player, as always, is serving all masters.

The Fitzgibbon Cup final replay is being played a week from today. Watch it, if you can find out what time it's on. Go, if you can find out where.

Irish Independent

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