DoNEGAL’S All-Ireland winning substitute goalkeeper Michael Boyle faces a fight to play in the Sigerson Cup with Dublin City University (DCU).
Boyle has won the prestigious third level competition three-times but a change in the rules means he will not be allowed to feature when the competition gets underway in January.
The new rule limits players to a maximum number of six academic years, but more pertinently prevents students who take more than two recognised courses from participating in either the Sigerson Cup or its hurling equivalent, the Fitzgibbon Cup. The new rule was drafted in October by the Association’s higher education body, Comhairle Ardoideachais.
Last Wednesday night, Cork dual star Aidan Walsh and Boyle challenged the rule and are currently awaiting a decision. Walsh is a housemate of Michael Murphy on Dublin’s northside.
Termon’s Boyle is also considered to be on his third course having dropped out of a course at Letterkenny Institute of Technology some years back, before returning to education at Limavady College of Further Education en route to his current course at DCU.
“I was initially turned down by DCU when I first looked to enroll in the Sports Science and Health degree course so I went back to study at Limavady a year later, earned my place at DCU having reached the level-eight requirement,” he told The Sunday Independent. “But now I’m looking at the prospect of watching the boys from the sideline because I’m deemed to be in my third course.
“It’s desperate to miss the Sigerson, especially with the standard. Apart from playing alongside lads you’ve spent the last few years with, you put yourself in the shop window with your county manager looking on. It’s a major disappointment.”
Murphy is a final year Biology and Physical Education student at DCU and feels the new ruling is extremely harsh on both footballers and students.
“With the economic position that the country is in, inter-county players are being told to go back to college and further ourselves, get a degree under our belts. Colleges have put support networks in place to help players avail of that and suddenly lads find themselves not allowed to play football. What will colleges do now? They’ll deem players not eligible for support and funding in the future.”
Murphy believes the emphasis first and foremost from the third level colleges is on education and rejects the notion that support systems like scholarships are put in place merely to entice sports people.
“It’s all nonsense,” he said. “Not even worth talking about. I can only use my own experience. I repeated the Leaving Cert to specifically gain entry to DCU for a Physical Education and Biology degree. I didn’t meet the entry requirements in my first time doing the Leaving Cert so I went back to get the points needed. One of the first messages I got from DCU was if you’re here to play football, forget about it.”