Cork opposes Super 8 plan and backs CPA bid for recognition

Cork County Board chairman Ger Lane. Picture: Matt Browne

Cork will oppose the All-Ireland SFC ‘Super 8’ proposal at this weekend’s GAA Annual Congress in Croke Park, but will back the Club Players’ Association’s request for official recognition.

Last night’s county board meeting at Nemo Rangers debated the motions which will be voted on at congress, but Cork’s opposition to GAA Director General Páraic Duffy’s plan for the All-Ireland quarter-finals to be replaced by two round-robin groups of four had been flagged as far back as October.

On that occasion, county chairman Ger Lane had stated that, if the change came in, realistically the Cork County Championships would be unable to start until August, and there was no contrary view put forward last night.

Similarly unanimous was the feeling against bringing forward the All-Ireland senior hurling and football finals to August, though the motion to dispense with replays — save for provincial and All-Ireland finals — was supported.

Galway moving to Leinster in all grades of hurling received a majority of support too. Wexford and Tipperary’s motion for the CPA to be officially recognised was unanimous as well.

A motion sponsored by five counties seeking to allow players aged 16 or over on January 1 of a given year to play in adult club competitions was passed, but county board coaching officer Kevin O’Donovan expressed a dissenting view, in light of the change of minor from U18 to U17.

“Separating fixture programmes at adult and juvenile level is one of the major challenges to the provision of regular, meaningful games to young players and the knock-on effects of dropout due to the cancellation of games,” he said. “As long as the overlap between minor and adult games persists, it is impossible for fixture-makers to provide adequate games at underage level due to the cherry-picking of minor teams and thus the cancelation of games or the provision of inadequate programmes.”

Domestically, a decision to expand the Cork county junior A hurling and football championships to include divisional runners-up as well as champions was expected to be passed.

Opposition to this move was led by Freemount, whose delegate John O’Flynn had expressed the view that divisional finals would be diminished by the fact that losers advanced too. Also of concern was the fact that divisional championships would have to begin earlier, meaning that the teams not making the final would have shorter years.

Meanwhile, Fermanagh manager Pete McGrath has revealed both Eoin McManus and Ryan Jones will be available for selection again next Sunday against Cork at Páirc Uí Rinn.

The counties meet in the third round of the Allianz NFL Division 2 and McGrath’s hand is strengthened by the returning duo.

McManus, instrumental for the Ernesiders in their defeat of Down on the opening day of the league, was marked absent subsequently against Galway with a hamstring complaint.

Yet, the centre-forward is fit to line-up on Leeside, as McGrath explained.

“Eoin McManus, who played quite well for us against Down, missed the Galway game, because of a hamstring strain,” McGrath told 93.1 Life FM’s Square Ball programme. “But I am very hopeful he will be able to play again on Sunday.”

Jones, meanwhile, is yet to feature for Fermanagh in the competition but McGrath expects the pharmacist to get game-time against Peadar Healy’s charges.

“Ryan’s a big, strong performer for us, but hasn’t played so far in the league due to an injury he picked up last summer.

“He’s coming back now, though, and will hopefully play some part in Cork, which would be a welcome boost for the team.”

McGrath is aware Fermanagh face a Cork side in desperate need of maximum points from the fixture.

“I suppose you could say both ourselves and Cork have come to a fork in the road in terms of our respective league campaigns.

“This is the third game, points on the board are important and, given we will be prepared for the contest from a near full-strength basis, we would be confident of giving a very good account of ourselves,” he said.


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