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Billy Morgan: 'They're just clearing the decks for inter-county, it's become an elite association'

The UCC boss was highly critical of GAA fixture-makers yesterday.

UCC manager Billy Morgan (file photo)
UCC manager Billy Morgan (file photo)
Image: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

BILLY MORGAN HAS heavily criticised GAA authorities for ‘clearing the decks’ to focus on inter-county games at the expense of other competitions after witnessing his UCC team begin their Sigerson Cup campaign yesterday.

The new third-level schedule this year sees the 2020 competition run off in a shorter period of time.

The Cork football great managed the reigning champions to victory in their opener, 2-12 to 1-14 winners over NUI Galway, and they will now advance to a quarter-final tie against IT Carlow.

He heaped praise on his squad afterwards – which included county players from Cork, Kerry, Limerick, Tipperary, Galway and Meath – but hit out at the format which prevented them from getting any preparation for the game.

“I could not be more proud of them,” Morgan told the Electric Ireland YouTube channel after the match.

“All the obstacles, thanks to Croke Park, we were missing there six inter-county players. We couldn’t prepare, college doesn’t actually open until tomorrow so we couldn’t prepare.

Source: Electric Ireland/YouTube

“We’d no preparation thanks to Croke Park. I don’t know who’s making fixtures up in Croke Park or who the genius up there is but they’re just clearing the decks for inter-county, it’s become an elite association. You see the players that are packing in because there’s no future for them.

“The difference was their heart and spirit. They fell four points to nil behind fairly early in the game, got themselves together and played some very, very decent football. We cut NUIG open several times in that first-half, got two very good goals. went seven points up at one stage. Fair play to NUIG they came back and brought it down to a point. But our fellas just were not going to give in.”

Kerry star Sean O’Shea, who lined out in attack for UCC, revealed that last Thursday night was the first meaningful training session their squad had together.

sean-oshea Sean O'Shea pictured in action for UCC last year. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

“I suppose it’s tough this time of year, it’s very early in the year for colleges to be out. We’ve all been away for Christmas and it’s been very tough to get lads together. That was probably it really. We trained together Thursday night, that was the first time most fellas were together. It took about five or ten minutes to get used to each other but it clicked then.

“It’s absolutely unbelievable, it’s a great competition to be part of. As students when you’re going to college, the main thing is to get to play in competitions like this. As players we really love playing in it.

“I suppose it’s tough the way it is at the moment, all compacted in together. Just talking to all the boys we really love coming up to places like this, real Sigerson venus, no stands or anything around the pitch, just a pitch on its own, the crowd really get around it and it’s a really good atmosphere.” 

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Fintan O'Toole

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