Munster remains open

The 2013 Munster SFC draw next Thursday will be an open one. Provincial council chairman Sean Walsh confirmed there was “only some appetite” to seed the competition.

Back in June, Walsh revealed the council had asked counties to discuss at their monthly meetings the prospect of keeping Cork and Kerry on different sides of the draw.

It was explained that the idea of going back to the system last in operation in 2008 was raised as a budgetary issue. Walsh pointed out that the level of funding to counties is considerably higher when Cork and Kerry meet in Munster finals.

However, counties have decided to make no changes to the structure of next year’s championship.

“The status quo remains,” said Walsh. “There was some talk about a seeded draw. I wouldn’t say there was no appetite for change but there was only some appetite for it. After the Munster teams doing so well in the qualifiers, it was felt that now was not the time to make such a change.”

Cork and Clare reached this year’s decider in the Gaelic Grounds where just 9,139 — the lowest provincial SFC final attendance in over 50 years — were in attendance compared to 40,892 for Kerry-Cork in Killarney in 2011.

The absence of a Cork-Kerry final this year had a massive impact on total attendances, with an estimated total crowd of 43,200 for this past summer’s five games compared to 64,043 in 2011. However, Tipperary’s minor successes in recent years as well as the seniors’ run to the last round of the qualifiers in July have given hope to the possibility of Cork and Kerry’s dominance in the province being broken.

Munster Council delegates also agreed to extend the contract of the current Munster GAA chief executive Pat Fitzgerald by a further five years, to 2018.

Meanwhile, Dublin’s Ciarán Kilkenny will join Aussie Rules outfit Hawthorn in Melbourne.

The talented Castleknock player had been the target of the Carlton Blues for over a year but Hawthorn recently entered the race to gain his coveted signature and have succeeded in doing so over the past couple of days.

Kilkenny made his SFC starting debut in the All-Ireland SFC semi-final against Mayo when he kicked three points and was among Dublin’s better performers as they made a disappointing exit.

Earlier in the season he lead Jim Gavin’s Dublin U21s to All-Ireland glory and was honoured as Cadbury Hero for the Future for his efforts.

Elsewhere, Mayo’s decision not to play the Connacht FBD final in New York has drawn strong criticism from the provincial board. The All-Ireland finalists’ players chose to concentrate on club and work commitments rather than travel.

“Connacht GAA would like to express its extreme disappointment and annoyance at Mayo GAA withdrawing from the Connacht GAA FBD competition at such short notice, considering the home final was played in January and the date for the final in New York had been decided in October 2011,” a statement from the Connacht Council read.

“Their action has greatly upset the players, management and officials of the New York team who had been making arrangements to host the All-Ireland Finalists to Gaelic Park.

“In the coming weeks Connacht GAA Council will consider what sanctions to impose on the Mayo GAA County Board for failing to fulfil the fixture.”

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