A midweek county championship game is set to provide the dry run for the new Páirc Uí Chaoimh ahead of its official debut with the All-Ireland hurling quarter-finals.
Cork County Board chairman Ger Lane welcomed the announcement of the GAA’s Central Competitions Control Committee that the Clare-Tipperary and Waterford-Wexford ties will be held at the facility next Saturday and Sunday week, respectively.
“Absolutely, we’re delighted to have the two days,” he said. “That’s what we were signalling after the disappointment of not being able to host the Munster finals and these two games should provide a big boost to the city and county.”
While it had been rumoured that Sunday’s county SHC game between Glen Rovers and Cork IT would serve as the soft launch for the stadium, it appears that a game will take place next Tuesday or Wednesday instead.
Having All-Ireland quarter-finals on two days will benefit supporters from the four counties who wish to attend as well as being more financially advantageous for Cork, but Lane said the county had no input into the scheduling.
“That was a matter for the CCCC, there would have been various reasons for it,” he said. “Obviously, they’re two very attractive fixtures and you’d be expecting close to a capacity crowd for both, so it makes sense from that point of view.”
The news of the games maintains the feelgood factor on Leeside in the wake of the senior and minor Munster final wins on Sunday. Lane pointed to the latter success as an indication of the effectiveness of the development squad model, making the case that, even though minor silverware has eluded Cork of late, play-ers have still come through.
“If you look back at the minor semi-final in Thurles last Thursday week,” he said, “but for a late Evan Sheehan goal, Cork would have been out.
“They’d have gone home and the wider public wouldn’t have heard about Daire Connery or Brian Turnbull or Brian Roche.
“That’s what has happened over the last three years — good minor teams have been knocked out in the semi-finals, they’ve been unlucky — and so the likes of Luke Meade and Mark Coleman have gone under the radar.
“We were always confident because we knew they were coming through, and that has been borne out. There’s a lot of credit due to those involved with the development squads and to the games manager Kevin O’Callaghan.”
Tonight sees the monthly Cork County Board meeting take place in Nemo Rangers, with Freemount having lodged questions with regard to the stadium and the county administration.
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