The All-Ireland senior hurling quarter-finals look almost certain to be held in the new Páirc Uí Chaoimh after Cork County Board chairman Ger Lane revealed that the stadium would open with a big event in late July.
At last night’s monthly board meeting at Nemo Rangers, it was a case of all politics being local. The delay of the opening of the new Páirc was referred to after fixture discussion and widespread opposition to proposed changes to the All-Ireland hurling championship because of the impact on club games, as well as a proposal to congratulate Enda Kenny on his retirement and to invite him to the stadium opening.
Late in the meeting, chairman Ger Lane reiterated his view that it wouldn’t have been right to open the stadium if it hadn’t been fully ready.
“In relation to yesterday [Monday], we had a meeting and it became apparent that it wouldn’t be in a position to open and have it in a place that we wanted,” he said.
“Opening a new stadium with 40,000 people, everything had to be 100%. I believe that was the right decision, there were works to be completed, and we’re very confident that it will be handed to us on July 7.
“That was too close to July 9 for the Munster hurling final but we are very confident we will be awarded big games in late July. While it is disappointing, it’s not the end of the world.
“There are a lot of people, particularly journalists who are concerned about season ticket holders and things like that, but that will all be dealt with going forward.
“There will be Munster finals there for many years to come. We didn’t want to open it when it wasn’t 100% ready.
“I want to thank everybody for their commitment. It was a pretty hectic day, the steering committee were very active.” Prior to that, it was agreed Cork wouldn’t vote against Central Council’s suggestion to hold a special congress on changes to the All-Ireland SHC, but a campaign against the proposals would be waged before that congress. A number of delegates expressed unanimous concern at how the extra games would impact the club scene but county secretary Frank Murphy urged a longer game.
“All we’re doing now is determining what to instruct Central Council delegate as to whether it goes to special congress,” he said.
“At this juncture, we should move reasonably slowly. If this is passed by Central Council, this will be on the congress agenda, but counties will have the opportunity to put in amendments or counter-motions.
“The idea of a Munster county being relegated to the qualifier group is not a good one. With respect, there are five counties in this province that are all traditionally strong counties.
“I don’t think it’s appropriate any of these five would be denied the opportunity to play in the Munster championship.
“I think we should prepare our own agenda for that particular congress.”
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