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Clare and UL footballer Keelan Sexton.
Clare and UL footballer Keelan Sexton.

Keelan Sexton enjoying UL stint

By Michael Devlin

It is a rare enough feat to play county minor, under 21 and senior football in one year, but Clare’s Keelan Sexton is part of that select group.

Sexton was still a student at Ennistymon CBS when he made his senior debut for the Banner County, and he has since gone on to become a key forward for Colm Collins’ side.

Having also boxed for Ireland at underage level as well as playing hurling and soccer, the gruelling sporting schedule didn’t seem to hinder the then teenager’s Leaving Cert studies too much, and he went on take up a degree in criminal justice at University of Limerick the following year.

This season he will once again be spearheading the college’s Sigerson Cup campaign. Back in February they missed out on the semi-finals after a 4-6 to 0-11 defeat to Ulster University.

UU fired in three goals before the interval, but UL never gave up despite losing Sexton to a second yellow card in the closing stages.

“Lads will be targeting a Sigerson,” the Kilmurry-Ibrickane club man told GAA.ie at the launch of the 2019 Electric Ireland Higher Education GAA Championships in Croke Park last week.

“It’s a massive competition at the end of the day, it’s an All-Ireland medal. It would be nice to win one because, let’s be straight about it, a few people mightn’t get as good a chance to come together as a group and win one.

Clare's Keelan Sexton celebrates during the All Ireland SFC Round 2 Qualifier against Offaly in June.
Clare's Keelan Sexton celebrates during the All Ireland SFC Round 2 Qualifier against Offaly in June.

“It’s a good starting block for coming into the National League, and a lot of county managers will be taking stock of it because it’s been a particularly good standard in the last two years.

Even the lads coming in who mightn’t be on a county panel, they’d be top quality club players and probably would be inter-county calibre of player. That’s how good it’s gone, and how good it will keep going in the future.”

Sexton is content enough with how UL’s recent Higher Education Senior Football League campaign fared this term. They lost out to UCD in the opening group stage game, but followed that up with big wins over CIT and Tralee IT before losing out by just a point to Maynooth University in the quarter-final.

“Yeah it’s been going well this year. There’s always a good turnover in the squad, we’ve a few masters coming in and freshers from last year. We’d a relatively okay league campaign. We’re just kind of gearing up towards January.

“The good thing about where our college is situated is that we get a good pull of players from the surrounding counties. The furthest of us are coming from Roscommon and Mayo, and a few from Dublin. Everyone is from a feasible distance.

“There’s a good bit of craic in between the countries. Everyone is fairly familiar with each other and we’re getting to know each other, so it’s becoming a good little setup in fairness.”