Lorraine O’Sullivan/INPHO Colm O'Rourke, the Meath manager.
# Solutions
Removing pre-season competitions 'would make space for Sigerson to breathe'
Éamonn Fitzmaurice made the suggestion in the wake of comments made by Meath manager Colm O’Rourke.

ALLIANZ LEAGUE SUNDAY panellist Éamonn Fitzmaurice has suggested that removing inter-county pre-season competitions could provide a solution to the Sigerson Cup quandary. 

The former Kerry boss made the remark in the wake of comments made by Meath manager Colm O’Rourke regarding the fixture pile-up caused by the third level competitions and national leagues.

O’Rourke, who has guided his county to back-to-back wins in Division 2, said that the scheduling of the Sigerson Cup is an “abuse of players” and that six of his players are affected by congestion. He also claimed that the college championship should be held at a different time of the year.

Fitzmaurice sympathised with O’Rourke’s situation and explained that these player welfare issues are becoming an annual problem.

“Obviously Colm was very frustrated about that afterwards,” Fitzmaurice said on the RTÉ highlights show.

“They had another great win today, scoring four goals [against Clare] but that balancing act of playing at the weekend and playing a big Sigerson game during the week always crops up at this time of the year.”

When asked by presenter Evanne Ní Chuilinn if inter-county managers should leave players to concentrate on the Sigerson competition, Fitzmaurice replied:

“You can certainly take that viewpoint but particularly in Division 2 where the stakes are so high, the managers want to win games and they want to keep going up the divisions.

“If the pre-season competitions weren’t there, it would make space for the Sigerson to breathe. It is a hugely significant competition and it needs to be protected. But at the same time, I get the frustration from inter-county managers.”

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