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Dublin: 10 °C Friday 21 February, 2020
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Mullins: Sigerson rescheduling would benefit players

Dublin legend agrees that the hectic nature of the current fixture list leaves young players in danger of burnout.

James McCarthy of DCU battles with Ryan Boyle of St Mary's in the Sigerson Cup
James McCarthy of DCU battles with Ryan Boyle of St Mary's in the Sigerson Cup
Image: Donall Farmer via Inpho

FORMER DUBLIN STAR Brian Mullins has added his voice to the growing number calling for the Sigerson Cup to be rescheduled.

Mullins, now director of sport at UCD, says the current system is in danger of leading to player burnout.

His calls come as college players embark on a potential three games in 48 hours,  with the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final to be played on consecutive days over this weekend.

Mullins is quoted in today’s Irish Sun, arguing that the demands on players are too great.

It’s a huge demand to ask players to play three days in a row, but we hope they will enjoy it and will have plenty of chances to recover when it’s over.

Last week, Kerry boss Jack O’Connor warned against younger players being asked to play too many games, particularly at this time of year as college GAA season reaches its climax and the national leagues get under way.

He called for the Sigerson and Fitzgibbon cups to be completed before Christmas, giving young players time to recover before the inter-county season begins.

His sentiments were echoed today by Mullins, who also believes that college stars would benefit from the break.

Maybe there is a case to reverting into an October/November schedule, when colleges can prepare for it in the early part of the academic year, rather than prepare for it post-Christmas.

Demands

The demands of the current schedule have been highlighted by the plight of James McCarthy, the rising star who togged out for the Dubs three times in the space of eight days recently.

This weekend, McCarthy could potentially have faced three games in three days as he hoped to help DCU retain the Sigerson Cup in Belfield.  Mullins believes the emphasis should be on coaches to protect players in instances like these.

I know James and his family well, and there would be a lot of pressure on him to be at the various training sessions and follow a rigorous match schedule because he’s been picked on so many teams.

But that’s a question for managers and coaches, to not put the pressure on them as much as they are.

As it happened, earlier today DCU were narrowly beaten by UCC 1-12 to 0-14. While McCarthy might not welcome the break, he has definitely earned it.

Read more in the print edition of today’s Irish Sun >

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