Munster needs Cork to revive football in province, says provincial chief

Munster needs Cork to revive football in province, says provincial chief
The Cork team prepare to take on Limerick in the McGrath Cup semi-final earlier this month. Picture: Sportsfile

Kerry’s dominance of Munster football has seen the province’s championships lose their spark, accepts Munster Council CEO Kieran Leddy.

He urged Cork, in particular, to rise to the Kerry challenge in order to revitalise football in Munster, welcoming the recent publication of the Cork County Board’s football development strategy.

In his first Munster Council Annual Report, published today, Leddy wrote: “Unfortunately, our senior football championship failed to light a spark, with the final in particular being one of the most disappointing contests in recent years.

Kieran Leddy
Kieran Leddy

“Kerry inflicted a 20-point defeat on Cork in a game that petered out long before the final whistle.

“While one-sided contests can always arise and happen in all competitions, Kerry have now won six Munster Senior Football titles in a row.

“Kerry were also dominant at minor and under-20 football level, winning both titles, although Cork will have considered themselves unlucky not to have won at least one of those competitions. Kerry have now won six Munster MFCs in a row and in those six years, Kerry clubs have captured 14 of the 18 provincial club titles on offer.

“These figures underline the dominance of Kerry football in the province at this point in time. It is no fault of Kerry that they are dominating this code and they must be complimented on the great developmental work that has been undertaken in the county.

There is no doubt that we need one of the other counties in the province, and Cork in particular, to rise to the challenge and get back to winning ways once again. Tipperary and Clare have made great progress in recent years and it would be great to see one of those counties go on to make a breakthrough at senior championship level in Munster.

I welcome the recent publication of the Cork County Board football development strategy and hopefully its implementation will reap rewards in the years to come.

In contrast, Leddy hailed the success of the new-look Munster SHC, while accepting the round-robin format posed logistical challenges for the council:

“There is no doubt we witnessed a superb Munster SHC, attended by 250,000 people and watched on live TV by over 2.3 million viewers.

“The increase in the number of games presented a unique challenge to the Council, in that never before had we organised two major senior hurling championship games on the one day and 11 in the space of seven weeks.

“The extra games and the increased profile have been positive for the game of hurling. With sport now increasingly globalised and live coverage of various sports from across the world readily available to every household, we need the game of hurling in the spotlight.”

The appeal of the competition benefited coffers, with all six counties in the province returning a surplus for 2018.

“Undoubtedly, the three draws in the round-robin phase were key to keeping the Munster Championship tight until the end and this won’t always be the case, so there is never a guarantee that this level of income can be maintained.

“It is most encouraging to see that all counties are managing their income and expenditure in a prudent way, and great credit is due to each county chairman, county secretary and county treasurer for achieving this.

“No doubt, it is a constant challenge for counties to remain in the black each year, given the costs associated with preparing county teams and the costs associated with maintaining training facilities and so on.”

Leddy’s report outlined how the €6,250,000 development funding allocated by the Council in 2013 has been drawn down.

“€3,750,000 was made available to Cork for the redevelopment of Páirc Uí Chaoimh, while €500,000 was made available to each of the other five counties. A further €1,000,000 was made available to Kerry for their Centre of Excellence project, resulting in a total of €7,250,000 being grant-aided since 2013.

“As well as funding the redevelopment of Páirc Ui Chaoimh and the Kerry Centre of Excellence, other projects such as the Tipperary Centre of Excellence, the Clare Centre of Excellence, works at Cusack Park, The Gaelic Grounds, Walsh Park and Semple Stadium have also been funded through this scheme.”

- Examiner Sport

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