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GAA ready to review colleges scheduling as counties air frustrations

A review of the involvement of third-level college competitions is to be undertaken this year, Leinster Council delegates heard at Monday night's convention in Tullamore.

The review will incorporate the involvement of third-level colleges in pre-season competitions in all provinces, and a look at the timing of the Sigerson and Fitzgibbon Cups will also be undertaken.

The involvement of third-level colleges in the O'Byrne Cup prompted the debate on Monday night by Longford delegates who outlined how they struggled to get a team together for their O'Byrne Cup match against Meath because of restrictions on college players.

Under the rules of the subsidiary competitions, colleges have first call on county players.


The debate over their involvement has intensified since the introduction of the ban on collective training in November and December.

Westmeath officials have also stepped up their opposition to players' involvement in colleges, while Tyrone manager Mickey Harte and his Mayo counterpart John O'Mahony have been critical on an annual basis of the policy of allowing colleges such latitude.

The finals of the Sigerson Cup took place last weekend and with the Fitzgibbon Cup play-off scheduled for Galway this week, some inter-county managers and administrators feel the college season can be as long now as an inter-county season, given the time between January 1 and the first round of qualifiers on the last weekend of June.

The GAA values the input of third-level colleges, however, given the vibrant market share it has over other sports and a relationship that extends to the use of top-class facilities and the potential for administrators to be nurtured.

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