Peadar Healy has called for a revamp of the Cork senior football championship, expressing frustration that 15 of his players had to line out with their clubs two weeks before the Munster final.
The Cork manager had requested three Cork SFC games and one Premier IFC game be postponed the weekend before last to allow the squad three weeks of uninterrupted preparation ahead of this Sunday’s visit to Killarney.
The County Board did not accede to Healy’s plea and the Cork boss has now claimed there are an unnecessary amount of county championship games, calling for an overhaul of the structure.
There are 26 teams in Cork football’s top flight; 18 clubs, six divisional outfits and two colleges. Too many, says Healy.
Across the border, where nine divisions and seven clubs compete for the Kerry SFC crown, there hasn’t been a club championship match played since May 26. And yet despite June being free of club championship games in the Kingdom, four teams have already booked their place in the quarter-finals. The four remaining berths are to be determined the week after the Munster final, with no further action expected until Kerry’s involvement in the race for Sam Maguire is at an end.
In Cork, another two rounds are required to determine the eight quarter-finalists.
Healy pointed to last week’s news that Dublin are proposing a significant revamp of their local championships, with the number of teams competing in the top tier to be cut from 32 to 16. There has been no senior championship in the capital since May 13.
“I do think we need a restructuring in Cork,” said Healy. “I think we have too many teams playing senior county championship.
“You look at Templenoe in Kerry, an intermediate club who are playing Division 1 league. They have contested an All-Ireland junior final. Kenmare, similarly, contested an All-Ireland intermediate final and have been very competitive since going up senior. We need to get that competitiveness too. We need to restructure.
“Dublin have put out their plans for a revamp. They will have 16 teams competing in the championship.
“It is the way to go forward. In both counties, Kerry and Dublin, there will be little or no club championship played until their All-Ireland championship is over.
“They are serious structures to have.”
The club matches the weekend before last, added Healy, significantly reduced the number of full-blooded training sessions the Cork management were able to conduct.
“It is frustrating from our point of view, but you have to understand it from the clubs’ point of view as well. They want the games put on.
“They obviously have players going on holidays and so they are preparing for these dates. It is frustration on our behalf.
“After the club games, we brought the lads back in last Tuesday for a walk through. Thursday was a hammer and tongs session. (Last) Saturday there was a Reds v Whites games.
“It is certainly not ideal when you’re going down to face Kerry in Killarney.”
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