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'The GAA need to look at this competition and give it the respect it deserves' - UCC boss

Tom Kingston was speaking after his side’s Fitzgibbon back-to-back triumphs.

UCC players celebrate their Fitzgibbon Cup success.
UCC players celebrate their Fitzgibbon Cup success.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

UCC HURLING BOSS Tom Kingston has called on the GAA to give greater respect to third-level GAA competitions after leading his side to back-to-back Fitzgibbon Cup titles.

Both the Sigerson and Fitzgibbon Cup competitions have already been completed for 2020, as the games were ran off over a shorter period of time in an attempt to relieve overall fixture congestion.

The DCU footballers captured the Sigerson crown at the end of January, before UCC defended their Fitzgibbon crown last night.

Sigerson managers John Divilly [UCD] and UCC’S Billy Morgan have recently slammed the GAA for its treatment of third-level competitions, and Kingston has since spoken out to echo their views.

“I hope more than anything is that the GAA look at this competition and give it the respect it deserves.

I felt what they did with the Sigerson was wrong, it was a disgrace. The Fitzgibbon was more spread out but they need to look at this and give these varsity competitions the respect it deserves.

“The players adore these games, they love Fitzgibbon hurling. They love Sigerson football. They need to recognise that and understand that. Leave them play with their colleges, give them a month or five weeks.

“Everyone would be happy with that, stop getting lads pulled and dragged with their counties, like these games are worth 25 training session.”

Kingston watched his UCC rally from six points down to defeat IT Carlow point in the Fitzgibbon Cup final at the DCU Sportsground.

DJ Carey’s side raced into an early lead through goals from Seamus Casey and Liam Blanchfield, but couldn’t find a late equaliser after falling into a two-point deficit late in the game.

Carey previously indicated that he was struggling to balance the inter-county commitments of his players due to hectic training schedules. After their semi-final win over Mary I at the weekend, he said some of his players had come through some intense sessions in the days before the game.

“I’ve been lucky with Cork because my brother [Kieran] is manager,” said Kingston when asked about his experience of combining the inter-county duties of his players with their Fitzgibbon commitments. 

“John Kiely is a gentleman in Limerick, Liam Sheedy was fine no problem whatsoever, so we’ve been lucky.”

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