Stark left perplexed by University’s decision to axe Coleraine from Cup

Tom Stark (second left) celebrates success with the UUC.
Tom Stark (second left) celebrates success with the UUC.

Tom Stark has saw a lot of things during his 45 year association with the UUC.

But he has been left exasperated by the Ulster University Officials handling of the Collingwood Cup situation.

“In my opinion it’s been handled very badly by the university,” he said.

“We met with them in 2012 when they first suggested merging the teams and we rejected the proposals. They suggested that it would save money but we countered by saying that we would raise additional funds.

“They also said it would improve performance but if they’re serious about competing with the likes of UCD at Collingwood Cup level, they would need to invest more money.

“I can understand that a joint approach works for some sports but it’s different in team sports. It’s a big ask for Coleraine or Magee-based students to train at Jordanstown. We’ve been told that this approach will apply to all sports but I notice that UUJ’s GAA club are representing the University in the Sigerson Cup.

As Coleraine and Jordanstown entered next year’s tournament in Limerick separately, both teams were in last week’s draw despite the University’s requests.

Stark said:“I wouldn’t be fighting this if it wasn’t for the boys. We’ve a good group of students who all want to compete in the Collingwood Cup and we’re keen to help them do that.

“The university have threatened to withdraw the use of facilities and take disciplinary action against the boys if they played in the Collingwood, but I hope it won’t come to that. All our students want is the opportunity to represent their campus and play to the best of their ability at Collingwood Cup.”

In a statement given to Times Sport the University of Ulster said they are ‘focused on helping them (students) maximise their sporting potential’.

The statement said: “This single, cross campus team approach in relation to senior intervarsity 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.”