IT Carlow are back into the Fitzgibbon Cup in the latest twist in a Higher Education 2015 season saturated with player eligibility concerns, expulsions, successful appeals, and delayed competition.
Having been deemed to have fielded an ineligible player in their group stage encounter with Limerick teaching college Mary Immaculate, Kilkenny student James Gannon’s full-time study status being in question, IT Carlow were ejected from the competition and replaced by Mary I.
The rescheduled remaining quarter final ties between Dublin IT, Mary I, Limerick IT and Waterford IT were then due to be played on Thursday, yet shortly after 1am on Thursday morning the colleges were informed that IT Carlow's appeal against the decision had been upheld and the day's fixtures postponed.
Mary I do have further appeal options of their own available to them but it is unclear as of yet whether they will take these on.
This debacle follows a similar situation in the Sigerson competition when Sligo IT were thrown out of the competition after an appeal by Queens University over the eligibility of one of their players who as well as being a student was also a student union officer.
In turn Sligo IT lodged a complaint over a number of Queens players who were enrolled in the university’s sister colleges, whom had teams of their own and therefore should not have played for the university as would otherwise have been allowed.
Both teams were expelled but pending another appeal Sligo IT were reinstated into the competiton.
The GAA have said that “details of the revised remaining Fitzgibbon Cup quarter-final fixtures will be circulated ASAP.”