Kevin O’Donovan: Club clash with Cork’s All-Ireland finals unavoidable

Kevin O’Donovan: Club clash with Cork’s All-Ireland finals unavoidable

Club championship fixtures will be played in Cork on the same days the county contests the All-Ireland minor football and U20 hurling finals.

Bobbie O’Dwyer’s Cork minor footballers face Galway on Sunday, September 1, the first time the county has been involved in the decider since 2010.

That two Cork SHC fixtures are also scheduled for the first Sunday in September has been described as unavoidable by county board CEO Kevin O’Donovan.

Cork and Galway throws in at 1pm in Croke Park, while the Páirc Uí Rinn SHC double-header involving Bishopstown-UCC and Midleton-Imokilly have 6pm and 7.45pm starts respectively. Bishopstown’s Nathan Gough was part of the match-day 24 for Cork’s win over Mayo last time out, while there was one Imokilly club — Carrignavar — represented on the semi-final panel.

“We are avoiding direct clashes where we can with the Cork U20 hurling and minor football teams. On some dates, though, games have to go ahead, like those involving Imokilly and UCC on Sunday, September 1. They have to take to the field that day because they have players involved for the rest of the weekend,” O’Donovan explained.

Some clubs have been great moving games left, right, and centre, so, for example, not to clash with the U20 hurling when it is on television.

Two club championship games will also be played on the same day (Saturday, August 24) the Cork U20 hurlers meet Tipperary in the All-Ireland final. The Cork IHC round three fixture between Dungourney and Cloughduv is scheduled for 3pm that Saturday, while the SFC game involving O’Donovan Rossa and Clonakilty, which throws-in at 7pm, will directly clash with the U20 hurling final at Limerick IT Gaelic Grounds.

O’Donovan also noted that if the Cork camogie and ladies football sides reach their respective All-Ireland finals on Sunday, September 8 and 15, there will be club championship games fixed for those afternoons.

“We will be doing our best if Cork is in both to avoid as many direct clashes as we can but there are already two games clashing with the All-Ireland camogie final. We’ll be getting a bit of bad press over that but those dates are picked by the clubs and there was no other date in which to play them. If there is a clash, it is only because there is nowhere else to go. We are hoping the Cork ladies will be in both finals.”

Responding to criticism of the All-Ireland football semi-final ticket shambles, which affected Cork supporters given the minor footballers were involved in the curtain-raiser which preceded Dublin-Mayo, the county board CEO said the GAA’s ticket distribution system, via SuperValu, Centra, and tickets.ie, is not suitable for sell-out games.

“It doesn’t work when the tickets are scarce because genuine people need to get them.” He is not in favour, however, of the old model — whereby tickets were distributed via county boards and clubs — coming back into play for all senior inter- county championship games.

We have to support the SuperValu model. I didn’t foresee the demand for hurling final tickets [in this county]. It has basically put our office into lockdown for the last two weeks because of the work involved.

Douglas delegate Der O’Regan said: “The GAA are opting out of their responsibility with tickets because it seems to be too easy for them to leave it to shops to distribute them and real members of the association having to queue up at SuperValu and other places. Maybe, we should look at going back, within reason, to the system where clubs were allocated tickets for most matches.”

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