Cork clubs reject radical proposal

Delegates at tonight's Cork County Board meeting at Páirc Uí Chaoimh. Picture: Dan Linehan

Cork GAA clubs last night rejected moves to introduce county championship matches without inter-county players.

The controversial proposal was tabled last week by the Board executive as a potential solution to the summer of inactivity for over 95% of club players.

The plan to introduce a five-game league system, two of them without county players, has provoked fevered debate across Cork and the organisation in general, and commanded greater than expected support before last night’s meeting, attended by over 200 delegates.

However, the option of three guaranteed championship games – one in April, and two more in August – was the preferred choice of delegates after a vote at Pairc Ui Chaoimh. That ‘Option A’ received 136 votes, the left-field Option C got 52 votes, and Option B 33 votes.

Kevin O’Donovan, CEO, Cork County Board speaking at tonight's Cork County Board meeting at Páirc Uí Chaoimh. Seated on the left are, Mark Sheehan, vice-chairman and chairperson, Tracey Kennedy. Picture: Dan Linehan.
Kevin O’Donovan, CEO, Cork County Board speaking at tonight's Cork County Board meeting at Páirc Uí Chaoimh. Seated on the left are, Mark Sheehan, vice-chairman and chairperson, Tracey Kennedy. Picture: Dan Linehan.

Some angry club representatives challenged the Board executive to explain why the decision was so urgent, and if a special Convention was a more appropriate forum for such a fundamental change to championship structures.

Clonakilty delegate Ger McCarthy said his senior football team would be decimated if they had to play two of the proposed five championship games without their inter county players.

Central Council delegate Bob Ryan said the idea of championship matches without inter county players was “absolutely out of the question,” but Killeagh delegate Damien Irwin said that when their club meeting discussed the options in detail, 24 of the 25 present favoured Option C as it “gave the club back a bit of standing.”

The proposed changes will be introduced in 2020 for two years with a streamlined grading system of four tiers with 12 teams in each – Senior A, Senior, Premier Intermediate and Intermediate.

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