Belfast Telegraph

University still divided over Collingwood Cup entry

By Keith Bailie

The student footballers of Coleraine and Magee are set to boycott Ulster University's Collingwood Cup trial.

The University had hoped to send a combined campus team to next month's prestigious Collingwood Cup tournament in Galway, but the football club at Coleraine are determined to enter their own separate team, as per tradition.

Jordanstown have also entered their own team, while Magee have not entered this year's competition. With the draw already made, Coleraine are set to play Limerick in the first round, while Jordanstown will face UCD.

The sporting authorities at Ulster University intend to hold a trial for a combined campus side in Coleraine this Tuesday, however UUC AFC President Tom Stark believes that the students of Coleraine will not attend the trial. It's understood that the University would like Coleraine to drop out of the tournament, with a joint team taking Jordanstown's place in the draw.

Stark said: “I find this action disgusting. Ulster University are not in the Collingwood Cup - only Ulster University Coleraine and Ulster University Jordanstown. Therefore there is no need for a trial for a team that will not be playing any matches.

"I am amazed that the Ulster University Student Union and Ulster University authorities think that they can ignore the wishes, rules and regulations of the Irish Universities Football Union and ride roughshod over the clear wishes of their students.

“Both UUC and UUMagee players have informed me that they will not be attending any trial at Coleraine so it would be a terrible waste of money to bring UUJ players up to Coleraine.”

A spokesperson explained the reasons behind the University's desire to enter a combined campus team.

“Ulster University is proud of its students' sporting achievements and is focused on helping them maximise their sporting potential. This single, cross-campus team approach in relation to senior inter-varsity competitions is in line with all other universities across the island of Ireland and has led to success for Ulster University in the recent 2014 Irish Intervarsity Hockey Championships.

“Campus teams are free to play in intermediate and junior cup and league competitions which ensures that all students get the opportunity to represent Ulster University in their chosen sport. The joint decision by the university and Sports Union was taken after an extensive and inclusive consultation process with its constituent sports clubs."

The dispute will need to be resolved in the near future, as the competition is set to commence in just over a month's time.

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