Later throw-in for Cork-Donegal quarter-final clash

CROKE PARK chiefs have attempted to appease Cork supporters by fixing Saturday’s All-Ireland SFC quarter-final against Donegal for 4pm.

With Cork playing Waterford in the All-Ireland SHC semi-final on Sunday, officials and fans of the Rebel County were furious that the Games Administration Committee refused to play the football and hurling on the same day.

Despite several representations last week from the Cork County Board, GAA chiefs would not budge on their stance.

However, the GAA announced yesterday that the Munster champions will play after, and not before, the Kerry v Armagh quarter-final on Saturday.

Croke Park spokesman Fergal McGill explained: “For the Cork people coming up for the hurling as well, it will help lessen the burden.

“They will be able to travel up a little later on Saturday, get the football and then stay on for the hurling 24 hours later. It is a small concession for those wanting to see the two matches over the weekend.”

Were there many calls of complaint from Cork at the fixtures? “Surprisingly few,” McGill continued.

“I think one of the reasons was the scenario last year. Last year Cork were at Croke Park on July 24 to play Waterford, they were in Portlaoise on July 30 against Sligo in the football qualifiers, on August 7 they played Galway in football and on the 14th they played Clare in the hurling. Two weeks later they were back at Croke Park to play Kerry in the All-Ireland SFC semi-final. At least this year the two big games are on the same weekend and at the same venue.

“But Cork’s situation is the price you pay for having two successful teams. I’m sure a lot of other counties are looking on in envy at their situation.”

McGill explained that it was not feasible for both Cork teams to be playing at Croke Park on the same day.

“Firstly the Christy Ring Final couldn’t be thrown aside — that had to be played as a curtain-raiser to an All-Ireland semi-final.

“And ironically, Cork were the county that insisted that a minor All-Ireland semi-final be played at Croke Park.

“Everyone wants to play at Croke Park and though we were trying to accommodate everyone, it is not possible to please everyone.

“There is a lot of sympathy for Cork but this is the situation.”

Cork County PRO Bob Ryan remained unimpressed by the gesture.

“It doesn’t matter a whole lot. We are still very disappointed for our supporters that the Cork footballers and hurlers cannot be accommodated at Croke Park on the same day.”

The GAA are expecting a crowd of between 45-50,000 for the All-Ireland SFC quarter-finals while 60,000 are likely to attend the All-Ireland SHC semi-final.

Friday — Tommy Murphy Cup Round 2 (Quarter-Final): Louth v Monaghan, Dundalk, 7.30 (P Carney, Roscommon).

Saturday - All-Ireland SFC quarter-finals: Armagh v Kerry, Croke Park, 2pm, (D Coldrick, Meath); Cork v Donegal, Croke Park, 4pm (T Quigley, Dublin).

All-Ireland IHC semi-final: Kilkenny v Galway, Tullamore, 7pm, (J Ryan, Tipperary).

Sunday — ESB All-Ireland MHC semi-final: Cork v Galway, Croke Park, 12.30 (J O’Mahony, Limerick).

Christy Ring Cup Final: Carlow v Antrim, Croke Park, 2pm (J McGrath, Westmeath).

Guinness All-Ireland SHC semi-final: Cork v Waterford, Croke Park, 4pm, (B Gavin, Offaly).

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