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Why Playing Fitzgibbon Cup And Ashbourne Cup Is An Advantage

Why Playing Fitzgibbon Cup And Ashbourne Cup Is An Advantage
By PJ Browne Updated
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Andrew Dunphy believes those playing in the Electric Ireland Fitzgibbon Cup have an advantage over their young inter-county hurling counterparts who are not lining out in the third level competition.

"You can do all the training you want, but when you're getting that exposure in games, it's a great advantage to have," says the Dublin hurler, who plays for DCU.

"It's great for lads who are trying to break onto an inter-county panel because it's at a standard that's just below that.

"You're getting great exposure because you're marking inter-county lads who could be from Kilkenny, Wexford, Carlow, or lads down in Munster. You're forced to get up to that standard, even if you're not involved with your country.

"You could go to 20 - 22 [years old] playing with your college, and then you get a call up to inter-county, at least you've been able to play at that standard, and you're up to it."

26 January 2022; Ciarán Kirwan of WIT in action against Andrew Dunphy of DCU Dóchas Éireann during the Electric Ireland HE GAA Fitzgibbon Cup Round 2 match between DCU Dóchas Éireann and Waterford IT at Dublin City University Sportsgrounds in Dublin. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Kilkenny hurler Adrian Mullen, a three-time All-Ireland club winner with Ballyhale, and the 2019 Young Hurler of the Year, says "over the last number of years, the Fitzgibbon Cup standard has been exceptional".

"It’s probably nearly at the same level as inter-county level," adds the 22-year-old, who is studying Accounting and Finance at DCU.

"You have so many inter-county players involved in the whole set-up. Learning from them and seeing how they go about things is definitely something to keep an eye on. It definitely gets you up to speed before you go up to inter-county."

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Like Mullen, Wexford camogie player Kate Kirwan, who plays for UCD in this season's Electric Ireland Ashbourne Cup, believes being around inter-county stars from other counties has been "massive" for her development.

"When I was in first year we won the Purcell Cup and just by being on that team I developed so much under those managers," says Kirwan.

"Obviously you’re playing with girls from all around the country who are playing at such high standards. Seeing how they train, how they strike the ball, you have to be bigger, faster. That was the first time I was introduced to a proper gym programme.

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"Even just the simple thing of arriving to training half an hour early, getting your own work in, whether that be shooting, first touch or just passing to hand. That kind of professionalism in a team, which I hadn’t really seen before."

Pictured is University College Dublin and Wexford Camogie player, Kate Kirwan. Through its #FirstClassRivals campaign, Electric Ireland will continue to celebrate the unexpected alliances that form between county rivals as they come together in pursuit of some of the most coveted titles across Camogie and GAA. Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Tom Maher

Mullen adds that playing for so many teams while also studying is "tough" but being busy also forces him to be organised.

"You just have to have good organisational skills and you’ll be able to manage it then," he says.

"You don’t have time to be [procrastinating]. You’re up and down from Dublin to Kilkenny for training, then you have to study on top of that.

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"You have gym and getting the right nutrition into your body. So you have all those different things so it’s all about planning and plotting. It does help you off the pitch too because they’re all valuable skills to have I suppose."

See Also: 10 Players To Watch Out For In The 2023 Fitzgibbon Cup

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