Kieran Molloy has admitted he could be faced with a frustrating club versus college conundrum for the third year running next month.
The Galway defender has found himself in a bind in recent seasons due to the success of both his club Corofin and college side NUIG.
It was the wing-back that famously drove straight from an All-Ireland club semi-final win in Tullamore in early 2018 to appear on as a sub in the second-half of the Sigerson Cup final in Dublin.
A similar situation arose earlier this year when Molloy had to play two huge games for club and college on the same weekend.
The latest headache is a potential clash on January 19 between the AIB All-Ireland club final and the quarter-finals of the Sigerson Cup, both scheduled for the same day.
For that to be an issue, three-in-a-row chasing Corofin would need to beat Nemo Rangers early next month and his college team would need to overcome UCC in the Electric Ireland Sigerson Cup.
“If we were to get through to the 19th then yeah, it’s the same situation again,” said Molloy, the Club Player of the Year for 2018/2019. “That’s obviously only if the club win and if we beat UCC. It’s the same thing, over and over again.
It’s definitely frustrating but we won’t be thinking about it until the time comes, if it comes. We’ll just be focusing on the first matches.
To add to Molloy’s headache, the final year student has exams to sit in the lead up to Christmas.
“I’m not even thinking about next month, I’m more thinking about the exams that are coming up now and after that I’ll try to tune in and process it all some way,” he said. “It’s going to be a lot of balancing between teams, between Corofin, the college and Galway.”
Asked if he’s resigned himself to an almost annual fixtures logjam at this stage, Molloy nodded.
“Ah yeah, I’ve accepted it now at this stage,” he said. “They don’t seem to want to do anything about it so you just have to accept it.”
Speaking at the draws for the Electric Ireland higher education championships, Molloy said that he’d like Corofin’s All-Ireland semi-final against Nemo to be played under lights at Croke Park.
That game, a repeat of the 2018 All-Ireland final won by Corofin, is currently scheduled for the first weekend of January though with no exact time or venue.
“There was talk of the game being in Limerick or the game being part of a double header either in Croke Park, it’s hard to know which way it’s going to go,” he said. “Under lights in Croke Park would be great. The pitch is solid all year round. It will be cold up there but it would be nice to play there again, to play in a semi-final and hopefully a final there would be nice.”
Despite the potential fixtures clash, Molloy said he’s generally in favour of the decision to bring forward both the Sigerson Cup and the All-Ireland club series games to early 2020.
“It’s great that it’s not being drawn out as long,” he said. “But now with it (semi-final) being just after Christmas we don’t get too much time off in a sense either.”
DCU will be Electric Ireland Sigerson Cup hosts in 2020 and have been handed a Round 1 game against Garda College on January 12.
There will be eight Round 1 games on that date with holders UCC handed a tough test away to NUIG.
Meanwhile, UCC will launch their defence of the Fitzgibbon Cup title from a group containing Cork IT and NUIG.
(A) NUIG v UCC, (B) IT Tralee v IT Carlow, (C) IT Sligo v UL, (D) Athlone IT v Letterkenny IT, (E) UCD v UU, (F) Maynooth v St Mary’s, (G) DCU v Garda College, (H) QUB v TU Dublin.
Group A (1. UL 2. DCU 3. Maynooth U 4. Trinity); Group B (1. Mary I 2. TU Dublin 3. WIT 4. LIT); Group C (1. NUIG 2. UCC 3. Cork IT); Group D (1. UCD 2. IT Carlow 3. GMIT).