Dr McKenna Cup is here to stay says Ulster chief
Ulster Council chairman Micheal Greenan has hailed the benefits of the Gaelic Life Dr McKenna Cup competition.
Greenan's emphasis on the value of the tournament comes just when the involvement of university sides in the various provincial competitions - the McGrath Cup, FBD League and O'Byrne Cup - is being questioned by a number of team managers in particular.
"The McKenna Cup has gained added status since the university sides came on board and what's wrong with that? Take last year - we had some very good games, large crowds and an exciting final. Into the bargain, managers were able to assess players and young players get the chance to show what they can do," he said.
And while there appears to be growing concern in Leinster in particular about the welfare of the O'Byrne Cup, Greenan maintains that the McKenna Cup is a template of "a good, well-run competition."
"It's not easy to please all of the people all of the time so we as a Council just have to do our best. The university sides by and large are fit to live with the county teams and while some people appear unhappy about this, they will just have to put up with it," said Greenan.
Several managers outside Ulster have been outspoken in relation to the involvement of university sides in the various provincial competitions.
Their views have stoked a hint of controversy even though the season is just about to get up and running.
And Tyrone's Mickey Harte pursued his own course of action when he named three players in his squad for the Gaelic Life Dr McKenna Cup who had previously been included in the UUJ squad for the competition.
Some counties in particular could certainly be doing with their university representatives because of injuries to other squad members but with the last of the round robin games in the McKenna Cup due to take place tomorrow week, the situation will ease - apart from in those counties who may find themselves in the semi-finals, that is.
These are due to be played on January 28 when the winner of Section A will play the winner of Section C while the winner of Section B will play the best-placed fourth team.
The final is scheduled for February 18.