Cork boss Ronan McCarthy fears Kerry showdown won’t be played in May

Cork boss Ronan McCarthy fears Kerry showdown won’t be played in May
Dark Times: Ronan McCarthy concedes Cork may have to accept that their 100% record in Division 3 of the league may ultimately count for nothing. Picture: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfil

Ronan McCarthy says there is “no chance” of Cork’s Munster SFC semi-final against Kerry taking place on May 24.

Although the GAA plan for the game to go ahead in eight weeks’ time, the Cork boss believes that aim to be impossible.

“It’s not going to happen on May 24, there’s no chance of it at this point,” he stated.

“You just go week to week with it at this point. There’s nothing imminent in terms of lessening the restrictions on training.

“We could be another four to six weeks in this limbo and what you are trying to do is make the best of it, and, to be fair to the players, they’re making a really good effort to stay in shape and stay on top of their programmes.”

McCarthy has heard the calls for straight knock-out Championship if the restrictions continue into the summer.

But he insists that whatever format is settled on that it must be a level playing field for every county: “If it happens won’t it be some occasion back to where the winner takes all? Whatever they come up with eventually the key thing is to ensure the basis for the competition is the same for everybody.

“So if everybody goes in and it’s a knock-out game then we can’t argue too much about it and we go from there.

“We shouldn’t forget that while it may be only for one year we moved away from the knock-out because seasons were very short for a lot of teams and the backdoor gave teams more games and it’s more games that players want. Needs must this year and if it comes to pass so be it.”

As for the possibility the Allianz Leagues might be deemed null and void and Cork’s 100% record after five games in Division 3 counting for nothing, McCarthy conceded the group has to prepare for that becoming a reality.

With one more point against relegated Louth at home or Longford away likely to promote Cork and ruling out any chance of entering the newly-formed Tailteann Cup this year, the Douglas man would prefer the remaining two round games to be played.

We have to accept the possibility that the league could be cancelled and the position we put ourselves in won’t bear fruit.

"That's where we are. We're in unprecedented times and whatever happens we will have to accept it and dust ourselves down and go again."

“At the same time, there has been some suggestion of playing the last two rounds of the league before the Championship to give teams a run into the Championship, which would be great, but it’s all dependent on how this crisis develops and obviously the priority is people’s health.

“People love going to games and we’re all missing it because it’s such a fundamental part of our lives but this crisis takes priority.

“If it means the league can’t be completed then so be it. If it’s a case of the Championship can’t be played then we will have to deal with that but let’s not look too far ahead and maybe we will have a clearer picture on Monday, April 20.”

Cork’s panel are being through the paces via the Metrifit athletic monitoring system under the watchful eyes of strength and conditioning coach Kevin Smith and football coach Cian O’Neill. 

Although the GAA have spoken of providing a two-week run-in for teams, McCarthy is adamant that players will need a month to be ready.

“Kevin and Cian are linking in with them regularly. We’re making the best of it. 

"All teams will certainly need four weeks, I think, of training and getting back to game fitness and before that training fitness. 

"That would be a reasonable enough amount of time to get up and running and then we can talk about matches after that.”

It’s also a challenging time for McCarthy in his day job as principal of Glanmire Community College as they adapt and respond on a daily basis to the situation. 

“First of all, it was about the oral exams then the practicals now it’s about the Leaving Cert going ahead. Every effort will be made to ensure the Leaving Cert goes ahead at the normal time in June.

“Then we have the changes in circumstances for students and teachers in obviously making progress with courses and preparing students for exams and we’re doing quite well. 

"We’ve the Google classroom set up and we’ve all our students set up on study plans and the combination of those has certainly helped.

“Nothing replaces the interaction of the classroom but students, parents, and teachers have made huge efforts to make the best of the situation we find ourselves in. Like football, you just don’t look too far ahead.”

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