THE timing of the Munster SHC final replay, the cost of tickets and the controversy surrounding the U21 grade were amongst the topics discussed at a stormy meeting of Cork county board this week.
Croke Park’s decision not to allow the provincial replay against Waterford be played on a Sunday generated the most reaction.
Glen Rovers delegate Finbarr McCarthy said that Croke Park bosses “should hang their heads in shame” while chairman Jerry O’Sullivan said the scheduling of the game was due to television broadcast deals.
O’Sullivan said: “Money is the kernel of the issue. Contracts have been signed and must be honoured. That’s the world we are living in.”
Carrigtwohill delegate Peter Hogan added: “Money will always be the root of all evil. We opened up Croke Park for money and that will come back to haunt us in time.”
Delegates also expressed annoyance at the unavailability of senior football duo Aidan Walsh and Ciarán Sheehan for the county U21 hurling side for last Wednesday night’s Munster U21HC semi-final against Tipperary.
Midleton delegate Pat Horgan said it was hypocritical to see billboards showing Walsh, with a hurley in his hand, promoting the Bord Gáis U21 championship, and then not playing in the competition.
Horgan said: “The Executive need to have a serious look at the situation. Cork is the loser here. Our most talented players are being pulled and dragged in every direction while their clubs haven’t seen them for weeks.”
Tomas Ryan (Dripsey) pointed out that Cork haven’t won the U21 hurling title since 1998, and noted that the bulk of the present county senior team came from that side.
“The present senior team won’t last forever. I propose that we hold a special meeting later on in the year. Call it a brain storming meeting if you like, but what happened last week is not good for Cork hurling.”
Don Hegarty (Carrignavar) questioned the timing of the U21 hurling championship and suggested it should be played in August when the majority of the counties are out of the senior championship.
Secretary Frank Murphy pointed out that the senior football selectors permitted players to play and train with the U21 football team prior to the Munster senior championship, and that a similar arrangement should apply in hurling.
“We need to be winning minor and U21 All-Irelands to ensure players come through for our senior teams. The board should take a policy decision on matter.”
Chairman Jerry O’Sullivan did move to clarify the situation by pointing out that Walsh was injured for the game and Sheehan did not make himself available for U21 action this season. O’Sullivan added: “There needs to be a bit of give and take all round, and under age players should be available to play in their own grade.”
It was unanimously agreed to hold a special meeting in the Autumn to review the entire situation.
Meanwhile, St Vincent’s delegate Stephen McCarthy was critical of the admission charged for Cork’s All-Ireland Qualifier at Wexford Park on Sunday. He described the €25 cost of entry as ‘savage’.
“It was a horrendous day and Cork supporters were forced to stand on the terraces where we got soaked to the skin. €25 to get into the game was a savage admission price and Croke Park should be asked to reduce their prices in the present economic climate.”
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