Fitzgibbon and Sigerson Cup contests launched

THE Fitzgibbon and Sigerson Cup competitions were officially launched at the Athlone Institute of Technology last night.

Institute director Professor Ciarán Ó Catháin in welcoming representatives of the Higher Education Authority, sponsors Datapac and participating teams, said sport and the provision of sport was an important aspect of institute life.

“This prestigious third-level hurling championship, combined with the Ryan and the Maher Cups, sets the scene for a display of hurling second to none,” he said.

Sports officer at the college, Gordon Brett, said it was a tremendous honour. “With this great honour comes responsibility, however, and we in the college will be working flat-out in the coming weeks to ensure that everything will be in readiness for the final at the end of February,” he said.

“People may be surprised that we accepted the chance to host the hurling, particularly as we are recognised more for our football. However, I see this as an opportunity to show what we as a club can do and maybe in time we will get the chance to do the same for the Sigerson.

“It’s a good time for hurling in the midlands. The recent appointment of Tom Ryan as coach to the Westmeath senior team has been well received, and we see hosting the Fitzgibbon as an extension to giving the game an even higher profile.”

The Datapac Sigerson Cup gets under way on Wednesday, January 28, with five preliminary round games down for decision. Holders NUIG face a tricky opener away to UL.

Preliminary round fixtures are:

Wednesday January 28

At Jordanstown: UUJ v Sligo IT (B. Crowe, Cavan). At UL Gds., Limerick: UL v NUI Galway (P. Russell, Tipperary). At venue to be decided: Tralee IT v Dundalk IT. At Terenure: Dublin IT v UU Coleraine (P. Finnegan, Louth). At Waterford: Waterford IT v Carlow IT.

Thursday, January 29

At Templemore: Garda College v TCD (M. Walsh, Limerick).

Friday, January 30

MICL Gds. Limerick: MICL v NUI Maynooth (B. White, Wexford).

The preliminary rounds of the Datapac Fitzgibbon Cup will be played on Saturday, February 14, with the final fixed for Athlone on Saturday, March 6. Pat O’Connor (Limerick) is the appointed referee.

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