Top Cork officials fear Munster minor football anomaly will not be changed

Cork County Board secretary Frank Murphy has expressed concern that the Munster MFC may not be changed, despite systemic problems.

Cork were eliminated from the provincial competition last week after a one-point defeat to Kerry and, at last night’s county board meeting at Páirc Uí Chaoimh, many delegates aired misgivings with how it operates.

Currently, three first-round ties are played, with the three winners advancing to the semi-finals while the losers take part in play-offs for the remaining last-four spot. Winning the semi guarantees two extra games — the Munster final and All-Ireland quarter-final — but defeat means the end of the year, something which has happened Cork in the three of the last five campaigns after losses to Kerry.

Cork chairperson Tracey Kennedy said the flaws in the football were highlighted by the change to the minor hurling for this year, with that being run on the same round-robin basis as the senior hurling. Murphy said that Cork had sought a similar change to the football, but failed to receive sufficient support from other counties or the Munster Council.

I read an article which made reference to us being late requesting a change,” she said, “we weren’t.

“When the hurling was changed, we immediately requested the same in the football but there was opposition from some counties in the province.

“We then tried to have two groups of three but, whatever about other counties’ support — they weren’t as opposed to that as they would have been to a wider round-robin — we weren’t allowed to put that forward and the decision was taken to run it as it is.

“There was no problem in changing the hurling, but we couldn’t get the support from other counties and from the provincial administration.

We fairly canvassed every county in relation to it but we were unsuccessful and we may be unsuccessful again.

“It’s not going to be easy to get it changed unless there’s a change in attitude from other counties in the province.”

Cork’s Munster Council delegate Marc Sheehan said that the issue was scheduled for discussion in July, with a final decision to be made at the September meeting.

He feared that if things continue, the minor football championship will be eroded.

“The number of clubs not participating in adult football in some counties has led to a lowering of standards,” he said.

“That has led to an ambivalence towards the minor football and there’s a concern that other counties won’t want a change. “I think we’re fast moving towards a situation where Cork and Kerry are playing in some derivative of the super 8s. I don’t think there’s a great appetite at national level to provide a solution, it has to come from within the province.”

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