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English set for third-level examination

The former Tipperary All-Ireland winning manager will be in opposition to his former third-level side in an emotional occasion next week.

UCD's Nicky English.
UCD's Nicky English.
Image: INPHO/Lorraine O'Sullivan

TIPPERARY HURLING LEGEND Nicky English is set to go up against a college he starred for in his playing days in next week’s Fitzgibbon Cup semi-final.

English was at the helm of the UCD team that claimed a 1-16 to 0-17 quarter-final victory over UL in Belfield yesterday to set up a last four clash with UCC on March 1st in Galway.

English has fond memories of his time with UCC as he won five consecutive Fitzgibbon Cup medals with the Cork-based outfit between 1981 and 1985.

However next Friday’s clash will be tinged with sadness after the tragic death of Paul O’Connor, a former college teammate of English’s and the manager of UCC’s 2012 Fitzgibbon Cup winning side, last September.

O’Connor won ten Fitzgibbon Cup medals with UCC, five as a player and five as a manager. Both he and English, along with current UCC GAA officer John Grainger, were honored last March on the Fitzgibbon Cup Team of the Century.

“After the death of Paul O’Connor, it’s ironic really (to be playing UCC),” English told TheScore.ie. “But that’s the way it is and we’ll look forward to it.

“There’s a lot of work to do yet. We’re only through to the semi-finals. It was satisfying to win (against UL) particularly in the circumstances. We were very unsure starting off”

English praised the input of Dublin footballer Rory O’Carroll who excelled in defence for UCD yesterday.

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“The switch of Rory and Willie Phelan really helped. Jonathan Glynn and Darach Honan looked early in the game as if they were going to have a major influence for UL but Rory was outstanding. Willie settled in to have a very good game.”

UCD are unlikely to have the Kilkenny trio of Walter Walsh, Cillian Buckley and John Tennyson available for their semi-final clash as they continue to battle injuries.

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Fintan O'Toole

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