Declan O’Sullivan: Mallow a ‘home game’ for Knocknagree

Dromid Pearses manager Declan O’Sullivan has taken issue with the venue for Sunday’s Munster club JFC final.

The meeting of the Kerry and Cork champions, Dromid Pearses and Knocknagree, is scheduled for Mallow. Irking O’Sullivan is that Knocknagree played their Munster quarter-final and semi-final at the North Cork venue.

Moreover, the former Kerry footballer has described it as a “home game” for their opponents, given Knocknagree sits 45km east of Mallow. Dromid Pearses, on the other hand, face a two-hour drive from their South Kerry base. The junior football final (3.15pm) is part of a double-header at Mallow, with the junior club hurling final between Tipperary’s Ballybacon-Grange and Ardmore of Waterford throwing in at 1.30pm.

Mallow has been the choice of venue for all but one of the last 10 Munster junior club football finals, the exception being the 2011 meeting of Dromid Pearses and Kildangan, which was played at Moyvane. Declan O’Sullivan kicked four points that afternoon and believes their chances of securing a second provincial title has been made more difficult by having to travel to a venue that is so familiar to their opponents.

“I was surprised by [the choice of venue]. I would have thought that shouldn’t really be happening. It is a big advantage to them. It is a home game for them, basically,” the Dromid Pearses manager told Radio Kerry yesterday.”

Expanding on this point in The Kerryman, O’Sullivan believes the venue was pre- ordained, a practice he is opposed to.

“There’s nothing we can do about it at this stage, but my own view is no venue for a final should be decided until the two teams that are in the final are known,” said O’Sullivan.

“I don’t think this should be allowed, in the interests of fairness, especially when Knocknagree have played there twice already.”

On a more positive note, Dromid Pearses will be able to call on Niall O’Shea after the red card he received during their extra-time Munster semi-final win over Galtee Gaels was rescinded by Munster Council on appeal. O’Shea was sent off with five minutes remaining in normal time for allegedly striking an opponent, his one-match suspension lifted after the South Kerry club successfully challenged the decision, using video evidence. O’Shea, one of two Dromid Pearses players to feature on the South Kerry starting team which contested this year’s Kerry SFC decider, is a crucial cog in their wheel and, had he not been cleared to play, it would have severely weakened their hand.

Victory for the Kerry champions would continue the county’s remarkable record in the competition, with Kerry clubs having won the last nine editions of this competition. Not since 2007 has a Cork club, Canovee on that occasion, taken ownership of the silverware on offer this weekend.

“The Kerry record is something we haven’t mentioned. The focus is solely on ourselves and our ambitions on Sunday, because that is the only thing we can control. Finals have an ability to take on a life of their own and we’re hopeful that if the lads stay as determined as they have been, that we will be in with a great chance,” said O’Sullivan.

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