Barry-Murphy in favour of on-field presentations

Barry-Murphy in favour of on-field presentations

Cork legend Jimmy Barry-Murphy has backed the GAA's stance in trying to stop pitch incursions ahead of tomorrow's All-Ireland SFC final between Cork and Kerry at Croke Park.

Barry-Murphy echoed the sentiments of GAA President Christy Cooney that pitch incursions have to stop, and could result in some dangerous injuries.

Speaking at the launch of a new partnership between Cork GAA and LeisureWorld at Cork IT for underage physical development, he said: "I'm firmly in favour of having the presentation in the centre of the field - I'd much prefer it.

"I think running onto the field after games by crowds is highly dangerous and I can see where the GAA are coming from and I would fully support them in what they are trying to do."

Barry-Murphy managed Cork to All-Ireland SHC glory in 1999 - the first time the Liam MacCarthy Cup was presented on the pitch.

At the time, development works were taking place on the Hogan Stand and Barry-Murphy says that the players really relished the experience at the time.

"In 1999 we won the final and they presented the cup to us in the middle of the field and I thought it was a fantastic spectacle," he enthused.

"We were able to enjoy the occasion with the players.

"Another important factor here is that some players on losing teams after games have been the subject of abuse from opposing fans coming on to the field.

"No one seems to put that into the equation and I think that is a very important factor as well.

"I think it is much more dignified to have the presentation on the field, the players can do a lap of honour afterwards and then meet their friends and families after the game.

"I'd much prefer for it to done like the Heineken Cup and the Champions League. I think it's a wonderful spectacle."

In his own playing career, dual star Barry-Murphy experienced after match pitch invasions from both a winning and losing perspective and he says that they cannot continue to happen.

"I was also on the receiving end of some slagging from supporters when we were beaten in All-Ireland finals. That's not a very nice thing to happen to you but it's something you just get on with.

"I'd much rather a more dignified presentation and the colour and the glamour they can bring to that part of it.

"I don't see why there is a need for a mad rush onto the middle of the field and back-slapping and people coming on at great danger to themselves.

"There have been injuries and huge insurance claims over it and I think it's time to move on and have a more acceptable GAA presentation ceremony."

Referring to comments by Billy Morgan and Mick O'Dwyer during the week over the appointment of Marty Duffy as referee for tomorrow's SFC decider, Barry-Murphy says he is hopeful that the GAA have made the right decision.

"The referee always has a key role to play, but I would hope that the GAA in their wisdom have selected a referee that is capable of doing a job.

"I wouldn't get too hung up about the referee before the game. When you are coaching or playing, you just have to get on with the game.

"You focus on your own game and let someone else take care of that (the referee)."

On tomorrow's final, Barry-Murphy says that while Kerry must be respected, his native county have got what it takes to bring Sam Maguire home to Leeside for the first time in 19 years.

He added: "Kerry have to be respected with 35 All-Ireland titles. They aren't won easily and their record at Croke Park is second to none.

"But I'm very confident that this Cork team have developed a strong mental attitude (to win). They have beaten Kerry at underage level and we have a very young team going out on Sunday and it's their time to stand up and hopefully make history.

"I think that Sunday can be the start of something big for Cork."

Speaking about the 18-year-old Ciaran Sheehan, who has been recently added to the panel, Barry-Murphy is hopeful that the temptation of an Aussie Rules career will not see him have a short-lived career in the Rebels jersey.

"Ciaran is back from Australia now after his trial and I hope he will stay at home.

"Players like him have a huge part to play. I think Cork need all of these young players coming through."

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