Cork finals vote a message for top brass

A motion proposing to bring forward the All-Ireland senior finals will be brought to the GAA’s Annual Congress by Cork following Saturday night’s county convention at Páirc Uí Chaoimh.

Nemo Rangers and St Nicholas had brought a joint motion that the All-Ireland senior finals be played on the last Sunday in August (hurling) and second Sunday in September (football), and this was discussed after a similar motion by Carrigaline — which wanted the football final on the penultimate Sunday in August — was withdrawn.

Former Cork football captain Derek Kavanagh, who retired from playing inter-county after the 2010 All-Ireland win, made a speech proposing the motion.

“Maybe it’s a step too far, step too soon, but think that club players are being crippled by [the current calendar],” Kavanagh told the meeting. “This year Bishopstown had 19 weeks between two games. We can go on about tradition, but the reality is that players and managers are walking away and deciding not to get involved.

“You might say, ‘what are we going to achieve bringing things forward by a week or two?’, but it’s the spirit of it, to let the top brass know that change has to happen.”

Kavanagh’s proposal was backed by Brendan Larkin of Douglas. “Let it come out of Cork that we are dissatisfied,” he said.

“If we don’t have clubs, we don’t have an organisation, people at the top don’t accept that.

“Lets have action, not pay lip-service. Clubs might go on strike and tell Croke Park, “stick your GAA up your geansaí if you won’t help us out.”

County board chairman Bob Ryan said moving the finals by a week “wouldn’t make a whit of difference”, while secretary Frank Murphy also spoke against the motion, saying a Congress motion should come “on the basis of particular value in the motion itself, not on the basis of a problem Cork have with championships”.

Despite this, and former GAA president Christy Cooney saying that September is an important month for promoting the GAA, the motion was carried by a large majority.

During treasurer Pearse Murphy’s report, St Mary’s delegate John Corcoran pointed out that the board had approximately €11m in investments and that season ticket sales would bring in another €10m, but that the cost of the new stadium was over €60m. He asked where the rest of the money would come from.

As well as pointing out that there would be assistance from provincial and Central Councils, Murphy said: “There is a currently a business plan in the hands of the steering committee. It is in draft form and will be considered at a meeting of that committee on December 17, with a report to the board’s finance committee to follow.

“The matter is being dealt with in a serious fashion and further details will be announced as they become available.”

The main issue of note in the chairman’s address was a suggestion that some Cork schools should amalgamate for the Dr Harty Cup. The last time a Cork school won the competition was in 2006, when Midleton CBS were victorious, and they are the only Cork representatives in the quarter-finals of the current campaign.

He said: “I intend to pursue this in the months ahead, and I don’t see why young hurlers should be denied the opportunity to play in it, when it’s an opportunity available to players in other counties.”

Ryan also pointed out that securing planning permission for Páirc Uí Chaoimh has been a slow process but that he hoped it could proceed without further delay.

In the only election to the officer board, Kieran McGann of Castlelyons won the ballot for Oifigeach Gaeilge agus Cultúr.

A motion brought by Ballyhea with regard to the composition of the county management committee was passed.

Members elected to the committee by clubs may not serve for more than three consecutive years and shall then be ineligible for one year before seeking election to the same role.

All of the motions brought by the board executive were passed, including the one cementing the place of Coiste nan Óg, which had been operating on a two-year trial.

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