UL Bohemian director of rugby Colm Tucker stood side by side with Garryowen’s forwards coach Paul Neville to call upon the game’s administrators to put the tournament back on the pedestal it once had within the Irish amateur game.
Tucker said it was disgraceful to allow a game of such importance be played in such an insignificant arena. “It’s a sign of the times and it is a struggle across the board. The clubs are falling more and more by the wayside; it’s very hard to see where this game is going, particularly around senior cup times. It’s about time it is mentioned, these games are clashing with Munster A games and everything and clubs are left scrambling for players.
“Where does it go? I think a decision needs to be made, we’re in a bit of a halfway house and it doesn’t suit the club game at all. You either create something semi-professional underneath and get rid of the Munster A team to have all of the guys on the fringe of the Munster team to play in that or else you have to run two separate games and have a professional game and an amateur game.
“It’s an uneven playing field. Some weeks you can be lucky when players are released, some weeks you’re not so lucky and the team playing against you can have players released to them.” Tucker won a Munster Senior Cup medal with Shannon at 19 and his late father of the same name had five medals. What would he say to the Munster Branch? “It is run off too early in the season and needs to be spread out. It is always clashing with Munster A fixtures, which is not right and degrades the competition because quite often the best players available are not playing in the competition. The final has been pencilled in for December 27, these guys are amateur players, if we were to get through what is a very tough game against Garryowen this weekend I think it is totally unfair that amateur players should be expected to play a final a couple of days after Christmas.”
Neville, meanwhile, with three cup medals in his trophy cabinet, is also hugely disappointed with the way the competition is being treated. “We have a proud record in this competition, and we treat it very seriously. I feel it is not a good time or place to have this fixture and to make matters worse the final is scheduled for December 27 which, in my mind, is absolutely ridiculous. There are going to be times in the coming months when it (final) could be played.
“I don’t understand why college guys, guys with families etc, can be given just Christmas Day, St Stephen’s Day off and then be expected to come back and play a final on that day. It doesn’t matter which club is involved, It bemuses me how seriously the Munster Branch are treating the Munster Senior Cup other than ticking the boxes.”