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'They don't really care. I've lost faith in the GAA to maintain the Sigerson Cup'

The UCD manager is the latest to speak out on the matter.

UCD MANAGER JOHN Divilly is the latest GAA figure to slam the association for its treatment of the Sigerson Cup.

john-divilly UCD manager John Divilly [file pic]. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

The third-level football competition is already at the final stage, as the games are being completed in a shorter period of time this year. DCU and Carlow IT will contest the 2020 decider next week after both semi-finals were played on Wednesday.

Divilly’s criticisms come on the back of comments made by UCC manager Billy Morgan, who claimed the GAA were ‘clearing the decks’ to focus on inter-county matches.

“The GAA don’t really care about it [the Sigerson Cup],” a frustrated Divilly told The42 after his side’s Sigerson Cup semi-final defeat to UCD.

“They’re brushing it down year after year. But look, while there’s lads like Paddy Christie and myself still involved, we’ll keep playing the competition as long as it’s there.

“It’s about the young lads developing, growing friendships in college, county lads mixing with each other and just learning. While that opportunity is still there, we’ll keep playing it.”

DCU manager Paddy Christie says he has no issue with the Sigerson Cup being completed quickly, but would like to see players stay with their college team exclusively during the competition.

Commenting further on his worries for the Sigerson Cup, Divilly continued:

“The way they’re going, it could be before Christmas [when it starts] and that won’t be good. But what can we do.”

“They’re not listening to people at the coal face at all. They just seem to make decisions in rooms and don’t even consult us. I’ve lost faith in the GAA hierarchy to maintain this competition but while it’s still going, I’m going to keep trying to coach guys.

“They know themselves what they need to do. We’re sick talking about it.”

eir-sport-allianz-leagues-fixtures-launch Kerry star Paul Geaney. Source: Brendan Moran/SPORTSFILE

Kerry footballer Paul Geaney has echoed the views of Divilly and his former manager Billy Morgan says the Sigerson Cup is not properly catered for by the GAA and believes the competition is “being shoved into a couple of weekends.”

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Geaney has fond memories of the competition after he captained UCC to glory in 2014 under the guidance of manager Morgan.

The star forward believes that the standard of college football is comparable to what he has experienced at inter-county level. 

It’s clear it’s being shoved into the couple of weekends,” the Dingle forward begins.

“If you get to the Sigerson final, you can’t play the first round of the league so there’s a conflict of interest there. It could hurt us.

 ”There’s still a couple of guys involved and if they go to a final, we’ll miss them for the opener of the league. To be honest, Sigerson is the closest you can get to the inter-county scene. People would have said U21 before but it’s not. Sigerson level is the closest to what we’re at in the senior inter-county scene.

“You’re pretty much looking at inter-county teams as Sigerson teams. It’s a fantastic competition and probably doesn’t get the recognition it should get.

“It is being squashed in a little bit.”

When asked if the GAA should consider eliminating the inter-county pre-season competitions to provide more fixture space for the third-level games, Geaney replied:

I don’t know. Pre-season competitions – what’s their purpose? I think that’s the question that has to be asked. Is it to blood players? Is it to win?

“Every county has a different take on it and I think when you maybe have two or three teams trying to win it, then it makes it more serious and it raises the bar and everyone else follows suit.

“But you get a big gate at that so are they ever going to be stopped or put to the backburner? I don’t think they are because of the financial side of it. It’s hard to envisage anything else. It’s not for me really [to question]. While I’m a player, [I'll] toe the line.”

Paul Geaney was speaking at the launch of eir Sport’s Allianz League coverage which kicks off on Saturday 25 January.

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