Cork hurlers concerned with county championship structure

The Cork senior hurlers have met with county board officials to express their concerns about the proposed county championship format.
Cork hurlers concerned with county championship structure
Intercounty activity is to resume no earlier than October 17, but if neither Cork team is involved on this weekend, then it is understood the Cork County Board may seek to extend their club championships beyond the October 11 deadline originally outlined in the GAA's return to action roadmap. Photo: INPHO/James Crombie
Intercounty activity is to resume no earlier than October 17, but if neither Cork team is involved on this weekend, then it is understood the Cork County Board may seek to extend their club championships beyond the October 11 deadline originally outlined in the GAA's return to action roadmap. Photo: INPHO/James Crombie

The Cork senior hurlers have met with county board officials to express their concerns about the proposed county championship format.

At a meeting earlier this week, a representative group from the county squad outlined concerns that the format would not allow them adequate time to prepare for intercounty games when those championships resume in the middle of October, particularly if - as expected - many of those same county panelists are involved in the latter stages of the county club championship.

While organising county championships is proving difficult for many counties, the sheer number of clubs and competitions in Cork make it particularly challenging.

The Cork County Board is not expected to make a final decision on the structure of the county championships until Croke Park publishes a master fixture schedule for the 2020 intercounty championships.

Intercounty activity is to resume no earlier than October 17, but if neither Cork team is involved on this weekend, then it is understood the Cork County Board may seek to extend their club championships beyond the October 11 deadline originally outlined in the GAA's return to action roadmap.

As this would truncate the preparation time for intercounty teams, representatives of the senior hurling panel put their concerns regarding this and other matters on the record with officials.

The disparity in preparation time for county teams has been the source of plenty of discussions this week.

Laois manager Eddie Brennan summed up the issue in this newspaper earlier this week, saying: “I think most managers would feel okay with not being allowed to train until a certain date - provided it’s the same for everybody.

"As things stand, Wexford would be finished its championship and all its county players would be available from the middle or end of August. In Laois county players wouldn’t be available until the last weekend in September.

"If Laois were playing Wexford in the Leinster championship which team would have the distinct advantage in terms of preparation? The GAA has to be very strong with this and proactive in acting.”

There is a good deal of variety in counties’ championship structures, but Wexford’s plans have been the focus of much attention in recent days. It has been reported their county board has planned to run the club hurling championship off in just over three weeks in August, while other counties have plans which stretch into late September.

Brennan’s concerns were echoed by Cork football manager Ronan McCarthy when speaking to local radio last week: “Since the announcement of the dates for returning to club and county action, that has become a bit more contentious because it now allows counties to find their own championship structure and dates. The worry there is, first of all, it’s going to create a poor experience for clubs in some counties and also disadvantage some county teams where some counties have eight weeks preparation and some only four.”

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