Cork chief’s delight as Páirc gets Munster finals green light

Cork chairman Bob Ryan expressed his delight that Páirc Uí Chaoimh will bow out by staging the county’s Munster SHC final against Limerick on July 13.

The Munster Council’s competitions control committee last night confirmed both the hurling decider and the Cork-Kerry football final will take place at the Ballintemple venue next month.

The Cork-Limerick clash, a repeat of last year’s final in the Gaelic Grounds, will be the last inter-county game in Páirc Uí Chaoimh before its €70 million reconstruction.

The finalised capacity won’t be confirmed until later this week although it’s likely to come in at around 37,500. That would be 3,000 less than what had been anticipated by Cork officials, but they were simply glad that Páirc Uí Chaoimh got the go-ahead. The current capacity is 32,168, so either way, it’s expected to spark a ticket frenzy given last year’s crowd which exceeded 42,000.

Although Cork were entitled to a home game as part of their agreement with Limerick, it was subject to Munster Council approval. There had been speculation that it may be staged elsewhere.

“We’re just delighted it’s now clarified and the uncertainty about the venue is off the agenda,” said Ryan. “That the match is in Cork will be a fitting end to the great stadium it was and still is.

“I’m absolutely thrilled that we’re involved in both finals and they will be taking place in Páirc Uí Chaoimh. All that hard work that has been put in by the teams and the county board has borne fruit.’

Ryan confirmed remedial work will have to be completed at the stadium over the coming days to comply with health and safety requirements to increase the revised capacity. “Bits and pieces have to be done but it’s well worth doing the extra bit of work to have both games there.”

It is the first time since 2012 that Páirc Uí Chaoimh has hosted a Munster hurling final but nine years since Cork were last in a decider at their home venue, beating Tipperary there in 2005.

Appropriately, Cork and Limerick met in the venue’s first provincial hurling final in 1976, the year it was opened. Following the win over Clare, several of Jimmy Barry-Murphy’s team had mentioned the attraction of playing one last Munster final in Páirc Uí Chaoimh.

Tickets for the 4pm throw-in game are expected to go on sale as soon as the capacity is confirmed.

Munster chairman Robert Frost headed up the CCC which made the decision in Arás Mumhan in Castletroy last night. He was joined by vice-chairman Jerry O’Sullivan (Cork), Kieran Leddy (committee secretary/provincial operations manager, Cork), Anthony Walsh (treasurer, Waterford), Ger Ryan (PRO, Tipperary), John O’Sullivan (Clare), Christy Killeen (Kerry), Richard Murphy (Cork), Michael O’Sullivan (Limerick), John Costigan (Tipperary) and Willie Barrett (referee administrator, Tipperary).

Meanwhile, the Clare hurling management have succeeded in postponing a full round of senior club championship games scheduled for this weekend.

Five SHC round two fixtures had been pencilled in, but four of the games were last night called off. The clash of Scariff and Broadford will go ahead on Friday evening as no player from either side features on the Clare panel.

The eight remaining clubs last night met with the county board executive where they were informed the fixtures had been postponed until early August.

Clare entertain Wexford on July 5 in the first round of the qualifiers and according to rule, counties are permitted to have access to their players 13 days prior to a game.

Having learned his side’s qualifier date on Monday, Fitzgerald immediately raised the issue with county board top brass. Members of the Clare hurling panel were told that night to expect the cancellation of all club games.

“We are abiding by the rule book here,” said chairman Michael McDonagh. “Clare achieved what nobody thought they would achieve last year and they have to receive a fair chance of doing everything possible to defend their crown.

“The clubs realise that and Davy has been good to the clubs. There was no animosity from the clubs towards the decision.”

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