Tuesday 16 January 2018

Time to tackle third-level issue

Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

WHEN asked last month to identify one thing he would have done differently in his final season as Cavan football manager, Tommy Carr replied: "Tackle the college issue in a more aggressive manner. We were without 14 of our panellists until mid-February, from a training perspective."

What frustrated Carr -- and continues to annoy other managers -- is the participation of third-level colleges in January inter-county competitions.

It's happening again this year where third-level colleges are busily warming up for Sigerson and Fitzgibbon Cup action by playing in inter-county competitions.

It means that county managers, who were prevented from working with squads until January 1, are without many of their players for pre-season work. Fair enough if players give their first allegiance to colleges in that period, but it's bizarre that third-level institutions are allowed into inter-county competitions.

For instance, Wexford lost heavily to DIT last Sunday, which is scarcely the start to the year that Jason Ryan would have wanted.

The GAA are right to promote third-level activity as much as possible but it shouldn't be allowed to corrupt the inter-county scene every January.

Irish Independent

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