With eight of his county players involved between the participating teams Keane, who is in his first season as coach, wants nothing to interfere with his side’s chances of beating Cork in the opening round of the NHL on Sunday.
“I’ve asked the Limerick County Secretary Jimmy Hartigan to try and get the Fitzgibbon Cup semi-final put back because of so many of our players involved”, said Keane.
“With the other semi-final fixed for next Tuesday, it would make sense to play both on the same day, thereby preventing any advantage accruing to any of the four teams. “The Fitzgibbon Cup is a fantastic competition. I played in it myself with UCC. During my time it was confined to just the four universities, but it has broadened its base considerably in recent years with the result that its beginning to impinge on the inter-county scene. My understanding was that Fitzgibbon Cup games were usually played on National Football weekends, but that appears to have changed now. Contrary to reports, I’ve made no threat to withdraw the Limerick players if the game goes ahead on Friday, but I would hope that common sense would prevail and that the match would go back to next Tuesday”.
WIT team official Con Power said that there had been no official contact between his side and Comhaire Árd Oideachais in Croke Park, looking to have the game changed.
“We were officially notified by the CEO that the game was fixed for Friday and we were happy with that. UL have been in contact with us about a change, but with so many of our players on inter-county duty next Sunday, we wanted first call on them, hence our decision to stay with Friday.
“Already we have four players involved in the Sigerson Cup this afternoon against St. Marys (Belfast) but we’ll live with that”, said Conor.
CEO chairman Martin Meagher said that as of now the game has been fixed for Friday, but that he would be making overtures to both teams to try and come up with some amicable agreement in the next day or two.
Meanwhile both Joe Bergin and Michael Webb are out of the GMIT team for today’s Datapac Sigerson Cup clash with Maynooth at Maynooth (2 pm).
Bergin broke a finger in a recent match and will be out of action for a couple of weeks.
Webb played in a challenge game against Crossmolina last week and did so well that Mayo manager John Maughan invited him into county training.
“Unfortunately, Michael pulled his hamstring and is out of today’s clash. To a college our size which doesn’t have the numbers, to lose two players of that caliber is catastrophic”, said GMIT team mentor Damien Curley.
Maynooth, who took Sigerson Cup holders Sligo IT to a replay in the league semi-final recently before being beaten by four points, will look to Kerry’s Marc Ó Sé, John Keane (Westmeath), Karl Ennis (Kildare) and Bernard Brogan, younger son of former Dublin stalwart of the same name to book their ticket on the bus to Cork for the concluding stages.
Should Friday’s Fitzgibbon Cup semi-final go ahead, WIT will be keeping their fingers crossed that nothing happens to Fergus Flynn, Setanta Ó hAilpín and Con Burns in this afternoon’s Sigerson tie with St. Marys at DCU Grounds (2 pm).
Flynn is struggling with a knee injury sustained in the Fitzgibbon win over GMIT last week. NUIG entertain Dundalk IT in Dangean this afternoon at 2pm.