The 2014 Fitzgibbon Cup and Sigerson Cup fixtures draws took place on Wednesday at Croke Park and Boylesports has priced up the markets for both college competitions.
Defending Irish Daily Mail Sigerson Cup champions DIT will face stiff competition to retain their crown from the likes of Division 1 League winners UUJ, while defeated league finalists UCD, also impressed during their campaign this winter. All 18 entrants, following the addition of IT Blanchardstown to the premier competition, will be hoping to progress to Belfast on February 21st/22nd for what promises to be an exciting two days of action.
This year, all Sigerson fixtures will be played on campuses/local venues with the introduction of a home-and-away agreement between all clubs. With improvements made to many of the GAA facilities in the Higher Education sector this will give clubs the opportunity to showcase their venues and it is hoped will lead to greater attendances from the student body at fixtures. Clubs drawn at home in this year’s competition will travel to their opponent’s venue on the next occasion they meet in the competition. The new arrangement is exclusive of semi-final and final meetings and only applies to the Sigerson Cup. A similar arrangement is not required in the Fitzgibbon Cup at present as all fixtures already take place on campuses given the geography of the participants.
League winners and defending champions UCC are looking to achieve a hat-trick of successive titles this season, which has not been achieved by any Higher Education Institute since current manager Eddie Enright was involved with UCC as a player (95/96 – 97/98) . Many others will also lay claim to the title with Cork IT , UCD, UL, and NUIG among the front runners on league form. Again The Dub will play host, with February 28th/March 1st the important dates.
The Sigerson and Fitzgibbon semi-finals and finals will also be used to trial the proposed clock/hooter time-keeping system. A public clock will be operated by a time-keeping official and will be stopped when an injury is signalled by the referee. Further details will be circulated in advance of the weekends.
With fixtures in the Irish Daily Mail HE GAA Championships scheduled to start on Tuesday January 28th 2014, full details of dates, times and venues will be circulated later this week.
Liam Hayes, Head of Sport, Associated Newspapers Ireland said ‘The Irish Daily Mail is very proud to be sponsors of all GAA 3rd level competitions. The Sigerson and Fitzgibbon finals this year were heart-stopping occasions and I sense that this year will be more exciting than ever. As proud sponsor of the Higher Education Leagues and cups, we are looking forward to building on the success of last year and raising the profile of these players through our newspapers for the year ahead”.
Speaking on behalf of Uachtarán Chumann Lúthchleas Gael Liam Ó Néill, Connacht Council Chairman Prionsias De Burca said: “The Irish Daily Mail Higher Education Championships have proven to be an important competition in the development of many elite players in recent years, while also providing meaningful competitions for all Higher Education attendees right through the various grades. The introduction of a home and away arrangement in the Sigerson Cup adds another exciting dimension to the competition this year. Many Higher Education Institutes have invested heavily in sporting facilities in recent years and it is fitting that their use is maximised in the premier inter-varsity competition”
The Irish Daily Mail will follow the progress of the Championships with previews of the competitions and big games, extended match reports, and Campus Corner, a colourful weekly column every Tuesday.
Liam Glynn, PR Executive at Boylesports said “DCU have already proven popular at 5/2 to win back the Sigerson Cup having last lifted the trophy in 2012.”
He added “UCC will be bidding to win a 39th Fitzgibbon Cup and they are likely to prove popular at 13/8 whilst 2013 beaten finalists Mary Immaculate look a big price at 8/1.”