Friday 17 November 2017

Sligo IT expected to appeal getting boot from Sigerson Cup

Sligo, managed by former Donegal star Martin McHugh (pictured), successfully objected that three of Queen's players were illegal
Sligo, managed by former Donegal star Martin McHugh (pictured), successfully objected that three of Queen's players were illegal
Cliona Foley

Cliona Foley

Sligo Institute of Technology are expected to appeal their disqualification from the Sigerson Cup and should get a hearing just days before they are due to play in the quarter-finals.

The Sligo college and Queen's University were both thrown out of the prestigious third-level football competition yesterday for fielding ineligible players.

But given that Sligo won (1-9 to 0-8 after extra-time ) when the two met in the first round, they are the only ones directly affected as they were due to play the reigning champions UCC in the quarter-finals next Wednesday.

Queen's objected to a Sligo player - Stephen Doak - on the basis that he was not eligible to play because he is president of their student union. The Higher Education Hearings Committee upheld their objection.

But Sligo, who are managed by former Donegal star Martin McHugh, also successfully objected that three of Queen's players were illegal. They argued that Ciaran O'Hanlon, Tony Donnelly and Greg McCabe did not qualify for Queen's because they are students at Stranmillis teacher training college.

Stranmillis students used to previously line out for Queen's but the college set up its own GAA club in the past year and are fielding a team in a lower division this season and the Hearings Committee ruled that their students are no longer eligible for QUB.

As things stand, defending champions UCC, who are hosting the climax of the prestigious competition this year, have been given a bye into the semi-finals, where they will play the winners of IT Carlow and the University of Limerick.

Both of the disqualified colleges have three working days to lodge an appeal and it looks inevitable that Sligo IT, at least, will seek one and it could take place as early as next Monday night.

Sligo IT's games development officer Michael Harte said they have not yet made a decision on an appeal, and will not do so until a full meeting of their members at the weekend.

He said the college was "very disappointed" with the hearing committee's interpretation of the rules.

"We were very satisfied with the eligibility of our player beforehand and felt we had all the necessary documentation to prove it," he stressed.

It is understood that the basis of Sligo's argument was that Doak's is a registered research Master's student and that his role with their student union is not a full-time one.

Irish Independent

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