Páirc Uí Chaoimh history beckons for Clare and Tipperary

Páirc Uí Chaoimh will host its first All-Ireland series game in 34 years when Clare and Tipperary’s SHC quarter-final opens the new stadium on Saturday, July 22, (3pm throw-in).

At yesterday morning’s draw, the GAA’s Central Competitions Control Committee (CCCC) decided to split the SHC quarter-finals into standalone affairs, so Wexford and Waterford face off the following afternoon at the same venue (4pm).

After Cork’s announcement last month that the refurbished stadium would not be ready in time to host the Munster finals, Central Council confirmed the quarter-finals would be held at the 45,000-capacity venue. They would usually be scheduled as double-headers, but due to anticipated demand they have been fixed for separate days.

Not since the 1983 Cork-Dublin All-Ireland SFC semi-final replay has the Ballintemple venue hosted an All-Ireland championship game. The game is Tipperary and Clare’s first non-Munster clash since their All-Ireland final 20 years ago and their first clash in Páirc Uí Chaoimh since the 2003 provincial opener. The last inter-county encounter held in Páirc Uí Chaoimh was the 2014 Munster SHC final, in which Cork beat Limerick.

A significant crowd is expected from Wexford, despite supporters facing a six-hour return journey, while Waterford fans are also due in large numbers, following their historic win over Kilkenny.

HawkEye score detection technology will be installed at Páirc Uí Chaoimh, but it is unlikely to be in operation for the quarter-finals.

There had been speculation Cork’s footballers’ fourth-round qualifier might also be staged there, but the CCCC have scheduled their game against Mayo for the Gaelic Grounds on Saturday week at 5pm. Mayo return there for the first time since their extra-time All-Ireland semi-final defeat to Kerry three years ago. Donegal and Galway clash later that evening in Markievicz Park.

Following their win over Cavan, Tipperary’s footballers will hope to scalp another Ulster team after being drawn against Armagh in Semple Stadium this Saturday (5pm). The other Round 3B game sees Carlow host Monaghan at 7pm.

Regardless of yesterday’s hurling draw, Clare were going to approach their quarter-final without trepidation, according to captain Patrick O’Connor, who said “we didn’t fear Cork either”, despite Sunday’s loss.

“The hurling championship is just so competitive. You won’t fear anyone. You know you will be able to take anyone on your day, but you also know or are answered that you need to be at your best to makes sure of the result. That will be our focus for the next couple of weeks.

“In a way, it’s a good thing, you are back up on the horse straight away. Two weeks, that’s an immediate aim. It’s coming fairly quickly down the road. We will hurt. By all means, we are going to hurt, but we need to get back up on the horse and go, because the season could wrap up very quickly if we were to dwell on this. We will learn what we can and concentrate on being as good as we possibly can for the quarter-final.”

Eight of the last nine Munster runners-up have won their respective All-Ireland quarter-finals, Waterford being the exceptions in 2012, though they have won through to the semi-finals on three occasions in that period. Clare lost back-to-back games in 2008, the provincial decider to Tipperary and Cork.

Parking Sunday’s loss is now essential for the Bannermen. O’Connor remarked: “I think there is a lot to be said for getting up and getting the first training out of the way and talk about it. There’s such good spirit in the group. We will feed off each other. We will hurt together and we will rebuild together, as well, and that’s what we’ll be doing this week when we get up and get back at it.”

O’Connor insisted Clare had been diligent in analysing Cork and their short puck-outs.

“It wasn’t through the lack of trying or the lack of homework done on them. We knew, it was blindingly obvious in the games coming up to it that they were particularly strong in that area of the field. Just their day and we will put our hands up and say we were beaten by the better team.”

The Tubber man lauded the Cork support.

“I suppose a word to the Cork fans: They were extremely gracious there after the match. They bring so much to the atmosphere and to the match.”

Meanwhile, Brian Cody won’t learn until next week if he is to be recommended a 12-week ban for an exchange with fourth official Justin Heffernan during the first half of Kilkenny’s All-Ireland qualifier defeat to Waterford.

Upcoming fixtures

Saturday, July 15

All-Ireland SFC Round 3B:

Tipperary v Armagh, Semple Stadium 5pm (Sky Sports); Carlow v Monaghan, Netwatch Cullen Park 7pm (Sky Sports).

Sunday, July 16

Ulster SFC final :

Down v Tyrone, St Tiernach’s Park 2pm (J. McQuillan, Cavan) (RTÉ); Leinster SFC final – Dublin v Kildare, Croke Park (A. Nolan, Wicklow) 4pm.

Saturday, July 22

All-Ireland SHC quarter-final:

Clare v Tipperary, Páirc Uí Chaoimh 3pm (RTÉ). All-Ireland SFC Round 4A: Cork v Mayo, Gaelic Grounds 5pm (Sky Sports); Galway v Donegal, Markievicz Park 7pm (Sky Sports).

Sunday, July 23

All-Ireland SHC quarter-final:

Wexford v Waterford, Páirc Uí Chaoimh 4pm (RTÉ).



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