Tomás Ó Sé praises Cork chiefs for tackling club v county debate

Tomás Ó Sé praises Cork chiefs for tackling club v county debate

Tomás Ó Sé has a preference for the revolutionary proposal to change Cork’s championships but believes any of the three options on the table will improve matters in the county.

The former Kerry star and Nemo Rangers club man commends new county chief executive Kevin O’Donovan and the board for putting forward the options, which will be voted on by delegates tonight at Páirc Uí Chaoimh.

He understands the fear that bigger clubs with inter-county players will have if not being able to field them in one or two championship matches as would be the case if Option C is successful.

However, Ó Sé maintains it’s a sacrifice worth making for a cohesive club fixtures schedule through the summer.

The five-time All-Ireland winner criticised the GPA for their comments about Option C as “not fair or sensible” and dismisses the belief it could lead to a form of professionalism.

“People are thinking Cork are tottering with going down the professional route if they go with Option C but I don’t think they are.

“I don’t think that will ever happen or be allowed to happen.

“I get the argument that people are worried that more counties might consider this but every county is different and every county will have to plan according to what they see fit.

“Cork are taking a handle on things as they see fit and what I say is fair play to them.

“I understand the worry about clubs missing their county lads and I know Nemo’s county players really love playing championship for the club but what attracts me about Option C is meaningful games through the summer.”

Ó Sé’s experiences with Nemo in recent years have opened his eyes to the huge challenges facing officials in Cork in terms of organising fixtures.

“Cork is a big county, I’ve played football there for a few years and logistically it’s a nightmare to agree on fixtures. Kevin O’Donovan is trying to put steps in place having just gone into the position and you have to take your hat off to him.

“Kerry’s straightforward: hurling does not impact on football in Kerry. Every year that Cork are out relatively early in the Championship you’re wondering why they can’t have club championship games until four or five weeks later and you’re wondering, ‘What is going on?’ I think this debate is a positive.

“Cork has issues but the way they’ve set out their stall you have to admire them. No other county to my mind has done this.

“It’s the first time that I’ve seen a serious question being asked and a big decision that clubs are being asked to make.

“I think the decision that is made at the county board will actually be what the players want.

“It’s a county board actually worried about their club players and a county board who know they need to get their fixtures right before they begin to tackle what’s wrong with Cork football and hurling or whatever it may be.

“It’s the right way to go.”

Ó Sé is also impressed with how O’Donovan has got to work quickly on reforming the championships. “I like the transparency of the whole thing. As a member of Nemo, I got the email that was sent out and the explanations from Kevin O’Donovan.

People are talking about ‘oh, this is the start of the GAA going down a different path’ and people are saying, ‘oh, they should wait until there is a thorough review’ but when is that going to happen?

“If it starts the debate about guys talking about the club v county issue isn’t that brilliant. I don’t know Kevin O’Donovan but he’s proving that he isn’t all talk and he’s organised and transparent.”

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