Former Cork All-Ireland winner feels two pitches in new Páirc Uí Chaoimh will not be enough
BY DENIS HURLEY
FORMER Cork football captain Derek Kavanagh has reiterated the need for a permanent training base for county sides.
The question of available facilities arose again last weekend following a Patrick Kelly interview in the Irish Examiner, in which he told of how the current football team has converted a warehouse in Fermoy into a gym.
While both team manager Peadar Healy and county chairman Ger Lane were clear that the county board paid for the installation of gym equipment and the rent of the building, Kavanagh is fearful that the situation won’t change even when the newly redeveloped Páirc Uí Chaoimh opens.
‘In the Páirc, you’ll have the main pitch and then just one more training pitch,’ he says.
‘Your average club has two or three pitches. Are the Cork senior hurlers and footballers going to be able to block-book the new pitches? I don’t think so.
‘If you’re looking to compete with Dublin and Kerry and Mayo and Tyrone, you should not have to be thinking about training facilities.
‘When I played, in terms of conditioning coaches and video analysis, we had the best of all of that but what we lacked was a training base.
‘It’s big in terms of planning a training session and knowing where you’re going, week in and week out rather than going all over the county. People could go and watch and support them and if you had a couple of pitches you’d have the younger teams training alongside.’
Kavanagh also backed up Kelly’s comments regarding a delegate meeting last autumn, which was held as part of the county’s strategic review. The general consensus had been that the meeting was of little use.
‘I must say, I’ve heard back from at least four or five people who attended that,’ Kavanagh says, ‘and all of them said the exact same thing.
‘In actual fact, Paddy said that he left at lunchtime and I’ve heard of two or three others who left at lunchtime too.
‘They said that it was the biggest waste of time, just a talking shop, not far-thinking enough and not progressive enough.’
Kavanagh is currently involved with the new Club Players’ Association, and he is urging players from all over the county and country to help make their voices heard to solve the fixtures problem.
‘The big aim is to see how many people want to be represented by it,’ he says.
‘That’s the first drive, to allow people to buy into it. In theory, we could be representing 100,000 people or thereabouts and that’s powerful in its own right then.
‘I don’t think that there are too many players out there who are happy with the way things are organised now and this is a big group designated with one very simple purpose – to force change in the fixtures.’