CASTLEHAVEN finally have some clarity with regard to the setting of their Bons Secours Cork Premier SFC final against Nemo Rangers.
At Tuesday night’s remotely-held Cork County Board meeting, a domestic fixtures masterplan was revealed to delegates, with the county final – the clubs’ third such meeting in eight years – due to take place on the weekend of August 6th-8th, a fortnight before the beginning of the 2021 championships.
The Haven beat St Finbarr’s after extra time in their semi-final on October 4th, the same day that Nemo overcame Duhallow, but the GAA paused all club activity immediately after that and the clubs have had to wait patiently since then.
However, this date is contingent on the Cork senior football team not progressing to the All-Ireland series. In such a scenario, the Cork programme would be pushed back.
‘If Cork are still in the championships, those games and the 2021 competitions bounce out week after week,’ said county secretary/CEO Kevin O’Donovan, ‘and then our noses are up against the glass for the Munster club championships.’
The county SAFC final between Éire Óg and Mallow will take place on Saturday, June 19th, while Castlemartyr and Russell Rovers meet in Lower IHC on July 10th/11th. The Premier IFC (Knocknagree v Kanturk), IAHC (Éire Óg v Aghabullogue) and IAFC (Rockchapel v Mitchelstown) deciders are down for August bank holiday weekend.
In addition, it’s expected that the All-Ireland U20 hurling final between Cork and Dublin/Galway will take place after the Leaving Certificate, most likely early July, with the 2021 competition beginning immediately after that.
While the county-wide junior B and C championships for 2020 won’t be completed, the board hope to play off the divisional junior A and B grades.
‘Some finals have Cork players that we’re going to ask to be released, some do not,’ O’Donovan said.
‘It will be a case-by-case basis. The junior A competitions, we can progress the hurling and the football requires the release of one Cork player [Damien Gore of Kilmacabea].
‘This programme will be hugely challenging, with some clubs involved in two finals.’
With a lack of time in which to complete full county leagues, 2021 will see one-off league cup competitions run. These will commence at the beginning of June and feature a number of eight-team groups, split into two fours, based on finishing positions in the 2019 leagues, with teams who will meet in 2020 finals or 2021 group stages avoiding each other.