FIRST-year third-level footballers are caught in a similar bind to older students trying to dabble inter-varsity, inter-county and club commitments.
Take Rian Quigley from the Moyle Rovers club in Tipperary as an example.
Last Sunday, he came for Tipp at half-time in their Division 3 win over Louth and then played for UCC Freshers in their 1-14 to 0-11 defeat by DCU at the Mardyke on Tuesday.
Quigley, who is highly regarded, then dashed off to play for his club in an U21 game.
College manager, Dr Aidan Kelleher, outlined the impact the start of the club U21 championships had on the league winners’ preparations.
“Our captain Fionn Herlihy played extra-time with his club Dohenys on Saturday.
“On Monday night Conor Crowley lined out with Glanmire and our full-back Dan O’Mahony also played with Knocknagree.
“He’s carrying a knock so he didn’t play for us and Dan was due to play with his club last night as well,” he said.
In addition, College have 16-17 fellows involved with Cork U20s who are gearing up to start the defence of their Munster and All-Ireland titles.
UCC had already qualified for the quarter-finals next month with an away game to NUIG the likely outcome.
“The lads will scatter to the four corners and it’s very unfair that the game is squeezed in between the Munster U20 final and the All-Ireland semi-finals.
“I don’t have to tell you what Keith Ricken’s disposition towards us is going to be.”
The main problem stems from Croke Park’s decision to bring the U20 championship forward though last season’s summer schedule seemed to be an ideal fit. The solution?
“Play the whole thing off before the U20 starts or maybe the future is running it off before Christmas, but I’m not sure.
“We have 30 lads who are mad to play for the College and we’re going to get a lot of Sigerson players out it down the line.
“It was our eighth competition game of the season and that’s great with a minimum of one more to come.”
It’s a waiting game for College now. “We might bring them in every now and again to have a look at a video or a chat.
“We played the league final against UL here in November, but since we’ve come back after Christmas we’ve had very little time on the pitch, maybe a couple of sessions and they were only walk-throughs.”
DCU showed they’ll be one of the favourites to add the Freshers title to the Sigerson.
“We were a bit flat either side of half-time and if you’re not at it at this level you’ll pay because you’re playing quality inter-county players.
“It was a fine game of football, but the annoying thing is that we are better than that.
“We missed a penalty, four scoreable frees and dropped balls into the keeper’s hands.
“Yet, I thought the lads showed a lot of spirit in the last 20 minutes and kept going even though they were well behind.”
Rochestown Park Hotel Division 1: Carbery Rangers v Cill na Martra, Rosscarbery, 11am; O’Donovan Rossa v Clonakilty, Skibbereen, 11.30; St Michael’s v Ballincollig, Mahon, 11.30; Mallow v Kiskeam, Mallow, 11.30; Castlehaven v Nemo Rangers, Union Hall, 12 noon.
Division 2: Fermoy v Newcestown, Fermoy, 11.30; Kanturk v Valley Rovers, 11.30; Clyda Rovers v Ballingeary, Mourneabbey, 11.30; Carrigaline v Éire Óg, Carrigaline, 11.30; Newmarket v Ilen Rovers, Newmarket, 2pm.
Division 3: Macroom v Naomh Abán, Macroom, 11.30, Rockchapel v Aghabullogue, Rockchapel, 11.30; Glanworth v Castletownbere, Glanworth, 1pm; Knocknagree v Aghada, Knocknagree, 12.30.
Division 4: Glenville v Kinsale, Glenville, 11.30; Na Piarsaigh v Bantry Blues, 11.30; Mayfield v Dromtarriffe, Mayfield, 2.15; Bishopstown v Gabriel Rangers, Bishopstown, 2pm.
Division 5: St Finbarr’s v Kilshannig, Togher, 11.30; St Nick’s v Kildorrery, Glen Field, 11.30; Ballinora v Millstreet, Ballinora, 11.30; Glanmire v Grenagh, Glanmire, 11.30.