Diarmuid O’Sullivan: Should thunder threat have halted Ennis encounter?

Diarmuid O’Sullivan: Should thunder threat have halted Ennis encounter?

Cork All-Ireland winner Diarmuid O’Sullivan believes GAA chiefs should have halted play in Sunday’s Munster SHC tie between Clare and Cork on safety grounds.

O’Sullivan believes protocols should be in place to protect both players and spectators when severe thunder, lightning, and torrential rain occurs — as was the case at Cusack Park — at GAA games.

Cloyne legend O’Sullivan said: “Where does player welfare come into the equation? Where does the welfare of the patrons come into the equation? Where was the welfare when people and children tried to get in under the covered terrace? A lot of people started to be crushed inside it. It wasn’t just a five, 10-second downpour, a flash or two of lightning and a clap of thunder. It was incessant.

You have to think about the guys on the field and the 16,000 patrons who’d paid into the game.

“There were umbrellas up inside the terraces and my two young lads were inside that terrace. What if someone’s umbrella had been hit by lightning and diverted to a child for argument’s sake? Who’s responsible for it? I know that these might sound dramatic or be bleak questions to answer because it only happens once in a blue moon.

“But there’s further questions to be asked on the back of that. I believe the game should have been stopped for a while on safety grounds. It wasn’t safe for players or patrons,” he wrote in his column for Paddy Power News.

Cork lost the game, and though still in the championship, are out of contention to claim the provincial title for the third year in a row.

Cork teams have struggled for primary possession, but it’s not just this year or last year, it’s an issue probably going back the last four or five years. We worked on trying to rectify it when I was involved, but it’s still an issue. It’s one of the weakest parts of the Cork game.

The former selector felt that John Meyler’s men were “completely bullied by Clare”.

He said: “The tone was set early before the ball was thrown in. There was an aggressive nature to Clare. I do have to ask, where was that hunger from them all championship though? Seems a bit strange that they only played like that in their last game.”

He added: “We were delighted with the Cork full-back line against Limerick. Seán O’Donoghue, Eoin Cadogan, and Niall O’Leary dominated their men and possession. But they’ve been opened up a bit since then.

“Eoin is an aggressive type player, he’s abrasive and he likes the physicality, where there’s constant exchanges. But, when Eoin is dragged out of position, the whole thing comes a small bit undone for Cork.

“Does management know their best 15? If Cork are to win the All-Ireland, you can’t afford to have both Conor Lehane and Shane Kingston coming on from the bench.”

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