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Colleges blackmailing stars - McGeeney

Kieran McGeeney has accused some college teams of blackmailing players not to play with their counties.

The Kildare manager has also called on the GAA to change the system which he claims has the third-level grade being considered a higher priority than senior inter-county.

Emphasising that he was a keen supporter of third-level football, the two-time winner of the Sigerson Cup with Queen's said that he had "loads of views" about college football.

"I played Sigerson football and Ryan Cup and it's good but it's still not inter-county," said McGeeney.

"Players are back (in college) at the end of September, colleges have them in October, November, December, January, February; Sigerson goes on until March ... so they have them for five months and we don't get them fully until then.

"So (that's) March, April, May before you start the biggest competition in the calendar, which doesn't make the sense.

"Add it to the fact that the off-season is meant to target 18 to 21-year-olds. When you talk like this, people think you're against college football and you're not. It's the opposite. But something has to be done. It's amazing that colleges are registering players without even talking to management.

"I've heard cases already where players are told: 'if he doesn't play with us we'll make sure he doesn't for six months' -- blackmailing players. It really shouldn't take precedence over inter-county."

The claim that pressure is being put on players to line out for colleges, particularly on the back of receiving scholarships, is not a new one.

McGeeney made sure to point out that he had heard nothing negative about DCU, who the Lilywhites beat in the O'Byrne Cup on Sunday, but with Donie Shine (Roscommon), Michael Murphy (Donegal), David Kelly (Sligo), Bryan Cullen (Dublin), Cathal Cregg (Roscommon) and Michael Boyle (Donegal) in the ranks of the college side, it is clear that the off-season does not apply to everyone playing senior inter-county.

McGeeney believes that playing the Sigerson Cup -- and the Fitzgibbon Cup in hurling -- earlier in the season would help the cause of senior managers significantly.

"It's a case of sitting down and talking about it," he said.

Irish Independent