Striking hurlers and footballers to resume talks with board

TALKS between Cork’s striking hurlers and footballers and members of the county board executive are expected to resume on Friday.

Board chiefs were meeting last night to agree to a meeting with the players on Friday night in the city.

However, in a new twist, the players are understood to be against the suggestion of slimmed-down representation from both sides. Board chairman Jim Forbes had mooted the idea of four-man negotiating teams to expedite the process, but it is understood that has been rejected. That could make for unwieldy discussions, with several members of the board executive depending on availability on one side of the table and at least eight hurlers and footballers on the other. Yet, both parties are determined to make as much progress as possible. There is a feeling on both sides that if talks break down this time, it will be the New Year before they recommence further delaying the appointment of a hurling coach and the resumption of training in both codes.

Meantime, Ireland's top hurlers and footballers are to make history playing soccer. Hurling champions Kilkenny, and football champions Armagh will square up to each other to raise funds for a number of charities.

The "clash of champions" will be at Kilkenny City headquarters, Buckley Park, on Saturday, December 21, at 7.30. Kilkenny captain, Andy Comerford, can take the credit for spearheading the charity event. "This is the players' opportunity to say thanks to the supporters who were so good to us," he said last night.

"We got wonderful enjoyment out of winning the All-Ireland and now we are giving something back to people through local charities. "I was delighted with the response from our colleagues in Armagh and from the directors of Kilkenny City football club.

Sporting fans could now be faced with the intriguing possibility of seeing DJ Carey tackling Armagh's Captain Fantastic, Kieran McGeeney.

Only a few years ago DJ Carey starred at Buckley Park when he guested for Kilkenny City against

Waterford United in a testimonial game for former Republic of Ireland striker, Alfie Hale. A number of other Killkenny players are also no strangers to soccer. Henry Shefflin was a star striker when St Kieran's College were pipped in a Leinster final replay in 1997.

He scored two goals for his local club, Southend Utd, on Sunday in their Kilkenny and District League first division 3-3 draw with Deen Celtic of Castlecomer.

Others who have lined out in local soccer are Peter Barry (St Anthony's Boys), Brian McEvoy (Evergreen), Andy and Martin Comerford (Freebooters), Charlie Carter (Ajax, Gowran) and Stephen Grehan (Spa United of Johnstown).

Goalkeeper James McGarry has played with East End of Bennettsbridge and is the present trainer of the Kilkenny premier division outfit.

Several Armagh players have also played soccer, notably Dermot Marsden, who has lined out in the Irish League.

Several top clubs have chased the signature of the talented Oisín McConville.

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