FRC calls for third-level rule change fall on deaf ears
THE Higher Education Committee (HEC) have insisted that a change to the rules surrounding eligibility for third-level competitions is unlikely, despite a recommendation from the Football Review Committee (FRC).
Controversy erupted last year after Cork's Aidan Walsh and Donegal's Michael Boyle were deemed ineligible for DCU.
The pair brought their case all the way to the Disputes Resolution Authority (DRA), but the ruling was upheld and they were barred from participation under the 'two academic courses' rule.
The FRC recommended a reconsideration of that regulation, with some favouring a system which would allow students to play for a maximum of six years. However, secretary of the HEC Michael McMahon revealed that no changes are on the horizon.
"I haven't seen the FRC report but I do know that last year a number of colleges brought motions that were defeated and they may have been very similar to what the FRC have proposed," he said at the draws for the Sigerson and Fitzgibbon Cups.
"Basically, our job is to apply the rules. Convention sets them and we apply them. What some colleges see as unfair, others see as eminently fair."
Reigning Sigerson Cup champions DIT have been drawn at home to Ulster outfit St Mary's as they look to become the first side to retain the third-level title since Sligo IT in 2005.
NUI Maynooth, who boast Footballer of the Year Michael Darragh Macauley in their ranks, take on IT Blanchardstown, led by former Meath star Graham Geraghty.
In the Fitzgibbon Cup, three-in-a-row-chasing UCC were drawn in a group with WIT, IT Carlow and St Pats. Both tournaments are hosted by Queens' University with the Sigerson weekend penned in for February 21/22, while the latter stages of the Fitzgibbon will be played on Friday February 28 and Saturday March 1.