Jamie Barron says the UCC players are not to blame for the furore surrounding their involvement in the Cork senior hurling championship.
The Waterford midfielder, PwC hurler of the month for August, features on a star-studded college team which also includes the likes of Colm Spillane, Mark Coleman, Michael Breen, Conor Gleeson, Darragh Fitzgibbon and Tom Devine.
Their recent victory over Midleton was met with criticism of their participation in the competition. Cork forward Pa Horgan tweeted: “Colleges and divisions should not be allowed in the cork championship.”
Ahead of UCC’s quarter-final replay against Sarsfields on Saturday, Barron shrugged:
“It’s probably hard (for a club team who have been training all year) to be beaten by a group of college lads who haven’t done as much training or preparation as you. But that’s the way it is there and it’s up to the county board. It’s not our fault that we’re playing it.”
The 23-year-old reckons the delay in the scheduling of the Cork SHC has suited UCC as students returned to college: “I think the fact that their championship is probably a bit late... well, not late, but a lot of other lads are out of their own club championships at home so fellas have a right chance to turn up for UCC and treat it as their own club.
“That’s big in our favour and obviously there are a few lads that are playing two games at the weekend, but if we could get over the line it would be nice to win up there too.”
Barron’s The Nire are also aiming to defend the Waterford senior football championship but that’s where it will end for the prospective champions as the county won’t complete the competition in time for the Munster club series.
“I suppose it’s all a backlog of games being called off due to the county hurlers going so far in the championship, but they’re all pros and cons.
"Obviously, it’s a big disappointment not to be able to play in Munster if you did win a county but that’s just the hand we’re dealt. I think they’re aiming to get the hurling played off so that the hurlers can at least compete in Munster. But I suppose it’s just not feasible to get the two of them played off now at this stage.”
Two years ago, Stradbally had to play their Munster opener a day after winning the Waterford title. Barron continued:
“Stradbally had to play the day after against Nemo Rangers, which isn’t fair either on players. When you’re putting in as much time as players are, you want to be able to play the things you should be allowed play.
"It’s probably hard on the club players who haven’t played all summer.” Barron revealed a meeting involving the Waterford players and management is imminent although there is no word on Derek McGrath’s intentions. “I think we will probably meet up in the near future as a panel with the management and discuss the year gone by and what’s ahead.
"I don’t know if Derek will stay on but I am 100% behind him staying on. If you look at the progress we’ve made over the last few years with Derek from being hammered in league games in Nowlan Park and Thurles and places like that to contesting and being very close to winning an All-Ireland final three years later, I think that shows how much he’s done for us.”
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved