The Sigerson Cup has been moved forward and will conclude in January as college fixture-makers attempt to avoid last year's clashes between inter-county and third-level fixtures.

The top-tier college football competition will begin on 11/12 January, with the final provisionally scheduled for Wednesday 29 January, three days after the first round of the Allianz Football League.

It is hoped that this will avoid the clashes that occurred last year when many inter-county players were either unavailable for their colleges or tried to play multiple games in a weekend.

This year's Sigerson ended on 20 Feburary when UCC beat St Mary's of Belfast.

Michael Hyland, the chairman of the higher education committee, told the Irish Independent: "We have been under pressure because the competition has overlapped with the league but next year it's straight knock-out so a lot of the teams will be out before the league starts.

"It is a change but we'd hope that this eases some of the pressure on our third-level players who have choices to make at a busy time."

The Fitzgibbon Cup, the Sigerson's hurling equivalent, has been pencilled in to finish on 12 February, also a Wednesday.

The competitions will still clash with the pre-season provincial tournaments, which county managers might be more relaxed about, and the rescheduled All-Ireland club finals on 19 January, though the latter will affect only a small number of players. 

However, the U20 inter-county Championships will move from a June-August timetable to February-March, directly clashing with the Allianz League schedule.

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