Home GAA Five GAA Stars To Watch In The Electric Ireland Fitzgibbon Cup

Five GAA Stars To Watch In The Electric Ireland Fitzgibbon Cup

The Electric Ireland Higher Education Championships return this weekend highlighting some of the best young talent in the country through the Fitzgibbon and Sigerson Cups.

Over the years, the competitions have cultivated some of the top players in both hurling and football with a huge number of All-Ireland winners stemming from third-level tournaments.

Following UCC’s success in 2019, this year’s Electric Ireland Fitzgibbon Cup promises to be one of the most exciting and competitive yet with a number of high-profile players set to take part including Austin Gleeson, Rory O’Connor and Darragh Fitzgibbon.

Ahead of the first round of action on Sunday, we have outlined five players to keep an eye on throughout the 2020 championship.

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1. Jake Morris (UL/Tipperary)

Following a stellar season in 2019, Jake Morris is quickly becoming one of the most exciting young stars in hurling. The 19-year-old already boasts an extensive medal collection that includes senior, U21, U20 and minor All-Ireland medals. He was instrumental from the bench for Liam Sheedy’s side this year making vital contributions in the All-Ireland semi-final against Wexford and in the decider against Kilkenny.

This is Morris’ second year playing in the Electric Ireland Fitzgibbon Cup with UL. The Limerick side last won the competition in 2018 when the Nenagh man was a part of their Fresher team that reached the All-Ireland final.

Having failed to progress past the group stages last year, Morris and UL will have a point to prove during this year’s tournament.

Electric Ireland Fitzgibbon Cup

Electric Ireland HE GAA Fitzgibbon Cup Round 1: DCU Dóchas Éireann v University of Limerick on Sunday, January 12 in Dublin City University Sportsgrounds at 1pm.

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2. Calum Lyons (WIT/Waterford)

Waterford may have suffered a disappointing season in 2019, but Calum Lyons was one of their star performers in defence. After a highly influential stint in the National League in which he helped the Deise reach the final, Lyons made his championship debut for the county in May against Tipperary.

The Ballyduff man is currently in his final year with WIT and is one of a number of Waterford stars littered throughout the college’s team and he last represented the side at this level in 2018.

Historically, WIT have always been one of the top contenders in the competition but have failed to make the decider since they lost out to UL in 2015. Fintan O’Connor’s team are drawn in a tough group with LIT, Mary I and DIT.

Electric Ireland Fitzgibbon

Electric Ireland HE GAA Fitzgibbon Cup Round 1: Limerick IT v Waterford IT on Sunday, January 12 in Limerick IT Campus at 2pm.

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3. Evan Niland (NUIG/Galway)

Evan Niland has been one of NUIG’s top stars in the Electric Ireland Fitzgibbon Cup and was a key player as the side reached the competition’s semi-final stage in 2019. On the county scene, Niland impressed for Galway at underage level, winning a Leinster U21 medal in 2018, and his performances earned him a call-up to the senior panel last year.

This is the Clarinbridge’s man second year in this competition and NUIG will be relying on his talent to help reach their first final since 2010.

Electric Ireland HE GAA Fitzgibbon Cup Round 1: NUI Galway v University College Cork on Sunday, January 12 in Dangan GAA Grounds at 2pm.

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4. Shane Conway (UCC/Kerry)

Kerry’s Shane Conway became one of the most recognisable names in the Fitzgibbon Cup following his exploits with UCC in 2019. After a stellar season which saw the decorated college collect their 39th title, Conway was named the Electric Ireland Higher Education Hurler of the Year.

In total, Conway registered 0-28 for the Cork outfit during last year’s tournament and carried that form into the National League and Joe McDonagh Cup where he continued his free-taking dominance.

While UCC remain favourites to retain the title this year, they have a difficult path ahead of them as they are drawn in a group alongside NUIG and neighbouring rivals, CIT.

Electric Ireland HE GAA Fitzgibbon Cup Round 1: NUI Galway v University College Cork on Sunday, January 12 in Dangan GAA Grounds at 2pm.

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5. Niall Brassil (IT Carlow/Kilkenny)

Like Niland, Niall Brassil is a very familiar name in the underage circles having starred for Kilkenny at both minor and U20 level and was drafted onto their senior panel as a result. Hailing from the famed James Stephens club, for whom he has racked up some impressive scorelines, Brassil was a key man for DJ Carey’s U20 side who tasted provincial glory last year.

This is Brassil’s first year with the IT Carlow Fitzgibbon Cup side and he is surrounded by a formidable panel that includes stars from Laois, Carlow and Wexford. The side are regular inclusions in the knock out stages but having experienced bitter disappointment in 2018 and ’19, the side will be even more determined to reach the decider once again.

Electric Ireland Fitzgibbon

Electric Ireland HE GAA Fitzgibbon Cup Round 1: University College Dublin v IT Carlow on Sunday, January 12 in UCD GAA Billings Park at 12.30pm.

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Electric Ireland’s Sigerson, Fitzgibbon and Higher Education Championship campaign, FirstClassRivals, showcases the unique trait of these historic GAA competitions that sees unexpected alliances form when fierce county rivals put aside their differences to play together, challenge together, and win together.   

Electric Ireland is proud to support the Higher Education Championships and will live stream a selection of Fitzgibbon and Sigerson Cup games. Watch the games and follow the Championship at www.electricireland.ie/hec and be a part of the conversation on social media using the hashtag, #FirstClassRivals or visit @ElectricIreland on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

About Marisa Kennedy

Marisa is a Digital Journalist with Pundit Arena. You can contact her at marisa@punditarena.com or on Twitter