Cork chairperson Tracey Kennedy says the county won’t be influenced by yesterday’s Munster SFC draw in how they vote on the second tier championship in Páírc Uí Chaoimh next week.
For the first time since 2012, Cork and Kerry have been pitted against each other in a provincial semi-final. And should the “B” competition be backed at Special Congress, Cork might have to beat their neighbours for the first time since that game to avoid missing out on the qualifiers.
That will be the situation if the second tier championship is passed and it is decided that the 16 counties who will comprise the lower 16 counties are those that begin the 2020 National in Division 3 and 4. In that case, the Division 3 and 4 teams must win through to their provincial final to remain in the Sam Maguire Cup.
Cork’s chances of making a fourth consecutive Munster final have been reduced by being drawn against Kerry who are aiming for their eighth provincial crown next season and an eight unbeaten championship game against the Rebels. However, Kennedy maintains their delegation will keep an open mind on the suggested stratification of the All-Ireland SFC.
We have been given no instruction on how to vote at special congress. The county board felt it was more appropriate to listen to the debate and make the decision at that point so we’re going to make the call on the day.
Senior football manager Ronan McCarthy has voiced his opposition to the proposal and Kennedy said they will take his opinion into account. “We have obviously discussed it with Ronan and he has made his views clear to us in how it sees it. His thoughts would influence us to a degree. We have to consider this motion as an association rather than what it means to any one county.”
Cork will host Kerry for a third year in a row in next year’s Munster semi-final as the counties return to their home-away arrangement following the two home games that Kerry owed Cork following the completion of Páirc Uí Chaoimh’s rebuild.
Kennedy would not be drawn on whether Cork would support the Tipperary option in the event the Tier 2 Championship gets the go-ahead. Like Cork, Tipperary were relegated from Division 2 this past season and they want to define Division 3 and 4 counties as those residing there at the conclusion of the 2020 competition.
For only the second time in the last seven years, Clare have avoided Kerry’s side of the draw as they face Tipperary in a quarter-final with the winners facing the victors of the Waterford-Limerick game.
The new Galway manager - Pádraic Joyce or Liam Kearns - received a boost yesterday with a kind Connacht SFC draw. Beat New York and they face Sligo for a provincial final berth. Mayo and Roscommon look set for a semi-final on the other side of the draw.
Quarter-finals - Waterford v Limerick, Fraher Field; Clare v Tipperary, TBC. Semi-finals - Waterford/Limerick v Clare/Tipperary, TBC, Cork v Kerry, Páirc Uí Chaoimh.
Quarter-finals: London v Roscommon, Ruislip (May 2); New York v Galway, Gaelic Park (May 3); Mayo v Leitrim, TBC. Semi-finals: London/Roscommon v Mayo/Leitrim TBC, Sligo v New York/Galway TBC.