Sligo IT face difficult task to regroup after late Sigerson reprieve
Last Tuesday night's successful appeal saw Sligo IT reinstated to the independent.ie Sigerson Cup but it may to be too late for the college to make further inroads in the competition, as they had stopped collective training in the interim.
The Connacht side head south to take on reigning champions UCC in the Mardyke in the last of the competition's quarter-finals tomorrow but preparation for the tie has been far from ideal.
Sligo IT's games development officer Michael Harte, who also acts as a selector on the Sigerson team with manager Martin McHugh, revealed that they had been forced to stop training.
The college's ejection from the competition for fielding an ineligible player in their win over Queens last month had seen interest wane among the panel, who believed they wouldn't be allowed back into the tournament.
"Training went dead," Harte revealed. "The whole thing just dampened the interest in it and the lads' heads were down. So we just had to stop training - the intensity you'd need wasn't there and numbers were down.
"We just have to get our heads around it and get on with it. Training dropped off from what it was."
The GAA's Central Appeals Committee reinstated the college earlier this week after they had been booted out of the tournament last week for fielding Students' Union president Stephen Doak in their four-point win after extra-time at The Dub.
The confusion centred on Doak's role with the Students' Union as certain officers are not eligible to play in the competition.
Queens appealed the result but a counter-claim saw them ejected from the competition after it emerged they had fielded players from Stranmillis College, who have a GAA club of their own, making them ineligible.
The governing body of third-level competitions confirmed Doak "satisfied all the criteria" to play, while Queens were also cleared. It means that Sligo have just over 48 hours to rally themselves for a date with Billy Morgan's UCC.
The Cork side have already seen off the likes of neighbours CIT and are odds-on favourites to retain their title ahead of Niall Moyna's DCU, who booked their place in the last four yesterday with a come-from-behind extra-time win in Belfast against St Mary's.
They will face the winners of today's clash between UCD and GMIT at Belfield, while the winners of the boys IT match will face either UL or IT Carlow, who clash in Limerick.