Roche believes the GAA calendar needs to be changed

John Morley

DCU versus Mary Immaculate College

DCU hurling manager Eoin Roche believes the GAA calendar needs to be changed to account for the numerous commitments of inter-county student players.

“The calendar needs to be sorted out. Any calendar which plays the first round of the Fitzgibbon the same day as the Walsh Cup final is not a good idea”, said Roche.

Speaking to The College View after the dramatic extra-time exit of the DCU hurlers from the Fitzgibbon Cup, Roche expressed deep empathy with his players’ busy schedule.

“Every college is in the same boat. Every college has a number of county players”, said Roche.

“There are difficulties there with the calendar but that’s up to the people in the administration of the GAA and the Higher Education of the GAA to sort out.”, he added.

The DCU boss was sombre in his tone as he admitted that there was nothing that could be done at management level to change the situation.

“Unfortunately, we can’t do much about that, but we can only make a recommendation about it”, he said.

“I coach and manage teams, I don’t look after administration”, he added.

Lamenting on the disappointing loss to UCC down in WIT campus, Roche discussed the ebb and flow nature of the thrilling encounter, which UCC won from behind with a late penalty.

“It was just a close game. There was never more than two or three points in it for the whole game”, he said.

Roche was disappointed with the concession of the late penalty but said a two-point lead was not a safe enough lead, given the nature of the close semi-final.

“It’s difficult to take but we possibly should have been a little further ahead so that wouldn’t have put us in that situation”, he said.

Roche praised UCC on their victory and admired some of their top-class hurlers.

“Shane Kingston was very good, (Shane) Conway was very good, Jack Barry, Chris O’Leary was excellent for them. Look they have some very good hurlers”, said Roche.

As the season ends for the DCU Fitzgibbon team Roche reflected positively on his team’s efforts throughout the year and over the last two years.

“Very happy with the lads, the boys were excellent. They have a lot of commitments between their studies obviously, and their county commitments, and their club commitments”, he said.

“It’s a very difficult calendar for them and the lads did excellent”, he added.

Roche and his management team will now go back to the drawing board and try to build on the progression of the team under their reign.

“Obviously, we’re disappointed we didn’t win it, we had a good league and won the league”, said Roche.

“But we’ve fallen short the last two years where there was an opportunity for us to win it in at least one of those two years”, he added.

University College Cork will now face Mary Immaculate College in the Fitzgibbon Cup final on the 23rd of February in WIT GAA grounds.

John Morley

Image Credit: Sport Action Photography