Universty of Limerick and Dublin City University meet in the Fitzgibbon Cup decider at Mallow on Saturday (3pm), both starting line-ups littered with inter-county talent. And with round four of the Allianz Hurling League scheduled for the following day, there is the potential for several players to be made return back inside the whitewash on Sunday.
Four Limerick hurlers - Gearoid Hegarty, Sean Finn, Tom Morrissey, and Barry Murphy - started UL’s Fitzgibbon Cup semi-final win over IT Carlow, with Pat Ryan scoring a goal when introduced as a second-half sub. All five saw game-time during the county’s Division 1B victory over Dublin last Saturday evening, but manager John Kiely has confirmed the quintet will not be part of the Limerick panel which travels to Antrim for their game against the Saffrons on Sunday.
Clare have four starters on Gary Kirby’s UL side - Conor Cleary, David Fitzgerald, Tony Kelly and Ian Galvin - and it is likely they too will be given a free pass on Sunday. Clare, already assured of their place in the league’s knockout stages, travel to Wexford Park, with joint-manager Donal Moloney hinting after the win over Cork that they would be without the aforementioned quartet for the trip to the southeast.
“We may see some other guys [against Wexford] because of the Fitzgibbon being on,” remarked the Clare joint-manager.
First-time finalists DCU pull inter-county players from Dublin, Kilkenny, Waterford, and Wexford. Captaining their side is Conor Delaney, the Erin’s Own Kilkenny defender having made his first competitive start for Kilkenny during Sunday’s league win away to Waterford. John Donnelly, who struck two points for Brian Cody’s side at Walsh Park, is another member of the DCU team. DCU selector Nick Weir confirmed yesterday evening that Delaney and Donnelly have been relieved of inter-county duty this weekend.
“I was delighted to see Conor [Delaney] get his start for Kilkenny on Sunday. He’s been going really, really well for us. The Kilkenny lads are free on Sunday and it helps the players’ preparation this week that they know, irrespective of a win, lose or draw on Saturday, they can relax after the match.”
DCU full-back Eoghan O’Donnell, as well as Donal Burke and Fergal Whitely, have all featured for Pat Gilroy’s Dublin in recent weeks. And despite the Dubs desperately needing to beat Galway at Parnell Park this Sunday, Weir said O’Donnell, Burke, and Whitely won’t be part of Gilroy’s squad.
Waterford’s Patrick Curran is corner-forward for the Glasnevin University. He is not expected to be present at Páirc Uí Chaoimh 24 hours after the third-level competition draws to a close. The DCU team also features two members of Davy Fitzgerald’s Wexford panel. Half-back Paudie Foley has started all three of Wexford’s league games, while Aaron Maddock was introduced as a sub on the opening day against Waterford. It remains to be seen if they will tog for their county a day after lining out for their college.
“It is all about communication,” said Weir of their positive relationship with the various inter-county management set-ups. “The more we communicate with them, the more they see what we’re actually doing. DCU are winning games at a high level. We are after beating Limerick teams three times this year. They see we are playing at a good high level.”
UCD’s Sigerson midfield partnership of Jack Barry and Barry O’Sullivan were initially named on the Kerry team to face Monaghan in last Sunday’s Division 1A encounter, but, in the end, did not play for their county 24 hours after tasting success with their college.