The pressures placed on GAA players juggling county and third level commitments may be generating plenty of debate in recent weeks but Tipperary’s Jason Forde believes the dual mandate has an upside.
The Silvermines clubman has been a leading light for the University of Limerick in their run to Saturday’s Fitzgibbon Cup final while also impressing in the Allianz League.
With Seamus Callanan out injured, Forde has started at full-forward in Tipperary’s three NHL outings and has hit a staggering 3-28 this spring - including 2-9 in Saturday night’s win over Wexford.
But Forde admits that playing alongside John McGrath with UL is also benefitting him on county duty.
“Games give you confidence and you get settled into it,” he reasoned. “It helps to play with John (McGrath) with the college as well. He threw me a few balls there so it could have been easily John on the other end. He is a great man to find a lad with a ball and us playing together between college and here is really benefitting both of us.”
It is unlikely Forde and McGrath will feature in Sunday’s League clash away to Kilkenny as the game comes less than 24 hours after the Fitzgibbon Cup final against DCU at Mallow.
Tipperary boss Michael Ryan confirmed that the duo, along with fellow UL panellists Barry Heffernan and Paul Maher (Kilsheelan/Kilcash), are unlikely to feature in the Nowlan Park showdown.
Forde is philosophical about the enforced absence next weekend: “Playing two games in two days might not be the smartest idea. You don’t want to be picking up injuries that are going to hamper you. The big thing is to stay injury free. I am sure another few lads will get a chance to have a go on Sunday. We have been using a lot of players in the league, the likes of Paudie Feehan has been showing up well and that is all adding to the panel. We are going to really need that as we look forward into the Munster Championship the way that is going to be run this year with it week on week so we are going to need the strength in depth.”
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