BY DENIS HURLEY
A PLEA for the Cork senior football team to play a game in West Cork may yet have a successful outcome.
At Sunday’s annual convention, Carbery vice-chairman Tommy Lyons beseeched the board to bring the team west, as he did at the 2016 edition.
‘We begged on our knees for you to play in West Cork,’ he said.
‘You ignored us and now you have the results, we’ve no pity at all for you.
‘In seriousness, what have we done to the board that you won’t give us a look at the county team?
‘The biggest attendance in West Cork over the last decade was a game between Liverpool and a West Cork League selection.
‘What have we got to offer the youngsters of West Cork instead? We have to tell them, “Sorry, the team are not allowed beyond the Viaduct.
‘It’s too serious to be a joke. Surely, you could give a McGrath Cup game, it’s all we’re looking for, so that the youngsters can see the Cork players. They deserve that for the effort being put in.’
New Cork vice-chairman Kevin O’Donovan has told The Southern Star that Lyons’ hopes may not be forlorn.
‘I’ve been told previously that the two city stadiums and Mallow are allocated as official venues, and surely in a county of our size you could have one more?
‘That’s not reducing the status of anywhere else, just adding another.
‘That would put the ball back into our court then as West Cork people – would the crowd show up to watch Cork?
‘I’m all for opening the net out wide and bringing the games to the people.’
At the county convention in Páirc Uí Chaoimh, Carbery vice-chairman Lyons also made a strong point about the status of the county leagues.
‘The senior leagues not satisfactory in how they’re run off,’ he said.
‘They’re grand until the championships get going in June and July, then when teams are knocked out, nobody wants to play. To have finals in the middle of winter, muck and dirt, under lights, with no programme, it’s not good enough that secondary competitions treated this way.
‘Somebody somewhere has to grasp the situation that, if we have no championships in the middles of next summer, we have to have something else. We can’t let the summer go with no high-grade GAA.
‘The Kelleher Shield final was a marvellous game, but it was at night under lights in Ovens, a good pitch, but it was an insult to competition to play final in those conditions and there was no programme.’
Ger Lane assured Lyons that the leagues would be run in a more satisfactory manner next year.
Donal McCarthy, the Carbery secretary, raised the matter of the renewed divisions and colleges section of the senior championships taking place during April. With divisions under pressure to finish their championships by the end of August, Carbery were under pressure with 19 or 20 junior A football sides and April had been set aside to get games played, but he feared for the prospects of this being achieved if the Carbery team were playing.
Dohenys delegate Barry Collins raised the matter of the composition of college teams changing from game to game, meaning that clubs could be unlucky if they faced UCC or CIT at a time of year when they were at their strongest. In addition, he felt that the inclusion of non-Cork players on these teams was not benefiting the county.
However, county secretary Frank Murphy said that, once the board allowed these teams in, it could not lay down any conditions regarding selection.
‘It should be noted that UCC are the longest-serving club in the senior football championship,” he said, ‘they’ve been there since 1916, that consistency is a matter of fact. You have to give serious consideration to contribution colleges made.
‘That hasn’t always been to the benefit of clubs in Cork, I might add, there have been disputes down the years, but they have afforded opportunity to students. Once we as a county agree to allow them to enter, we have certain controls regarding local players, we don’t want to affect divisional teams and there is a quota, but outside players are governed by general rule. It’s not in our gift to say yes or no.
‘It would be a matter of very serious concern if to take a decision to reject colleges. Some clubs are talking about eliminating divisions, you have to ask if that’s a good thing?
‘It’s fine to air views here, if you want to proceed it’s at board level that it must be decided, but you must respect the tradition there down through the years.’