Window for club games ‘challenging’, says Cork chair Tracey Kennedy

Cork County Board chairperson Tracey Kennedy has said it will be “challenging” to squeeze their adult championships into the 11-week window outlined in the GAA’s return to play roadmap.
Window for club games ‘challenging’, says Cork chair Tracey Kennedy
Tracey Kennedy

Cork County Board chairperson Tracey Kennedy has said it will be “challenging” to squeeze their adult championships into the

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Cork’s new-look county championship — the old grading system of Senior, Premier Intermediate, and Intermediate has been replaced by Premier Senior, Senior A, Premier Intermediate, Intermediate A, and Lower Intermediate (hurling only) — will throw-in on July 31, but while she welcomed the announcement of this start date, Kennedy said the county board’s Competitions Control Committee and executive have a job on their hands to magic up a formula that will see the majority of competitions concluded by Sunday, October 11.

“It is always going to be challenging in Cork,” said Kennedy of the scheduling headaches awaiting fixture-makers.

“Even when we have the whole year to play our club championships, we find it challenging because of the significant dual aspect of club involvement.

“Obviously, that is going to be a difficulty. There is no point in saying otherwise.”

Kennedy gave no indication if the four-team group format approved for this year and the draws for which have long since taken place will be scrapped in favour of a more condensed, knockout structure.

“We have had no serious discussion on what format a championship might take because, while we have bounced around ideas, when you are operating in a vacuum, it is very difficult to pin anything down or have a serious debate when you don’t know what your window is.

“We will be looking at firming up as soon as possible what kind of format we could operate in that window.

“The ‘involving county players’ stipulation as set out in the GAA’s roadmap (club competitions involving county players must be wrapped up by October 11), there is a little bit of flexibility there.

It might be a situation of prioritising the ones that do. I am really only speculating. We have to see what is doable. We have to see if the format we had planned for this year will be workable. If it isn’t, we will have to look at alternatives.

Inter-county teams are not permitted to resume training before September 14. Kennedy is confident of total adherence from Kieran Kingston and Ronan McCarthy’s respective panels to this return date.

“I have always found our players and managers to be very responsible people, with great integrity. I wouldn’t have any concerns on that front.”

Reflecting on the long list of requirements clubs must satisfy before, during, and after each training session, Kennedy said the guidelines each club must implement “won’t be easy but are doable”.

“The theme that jumps out at me from my reading of the document is responsibility. It is very clear on our own personal responsibility, right up through the responsibility of the club, the officers, and the teams.

“There is a big emphasis here on responsibility, such as filling out the health questionnaire before training. That is as it should be.

“There is a lot for clubs to get their heads around. But there is time to do that and that is a positive. I think people really are desperate to get back to action so they will be happy to take on the levels of responsibility that are required, so they can get back to action and get back to some level of normality.”

Meanwhile, Limerick football manager Billy Lee said communication between club and inter-county managers is vital when inter-county training resumes in mid-September. A lack of communication will only lead to players picking up short and long-term injuries.

“We all have to put the players first, we all have to work together. Common sense has to be applied. Otherwise, we’ll only see injuries across the board.”

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