McCarthy: Let Senior A players line out with divisional teams

December 6th, 2021 2:45 PM

By Kieran McCarthy

Newly-elected Carbery GAA chairman Aidan O'Rourke (left) making a presentation to the outgoing secretary Donal McCarthy at the division's Convention last Friday night. On the right is Donal's successor Don Desmond of Bandon. (Photo: Paddy Feen)

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CLUB players who compete in the Cork Senior A football and hurling championships should be allowed line out with their divisional teams, insists outgoing Carbery GAA Secretary Donal McCarthy.

As it stands, players from Senior A football and hurling teams are not eligible to play with their divisions in the Cork Premier senior championships – but, in his report to last Friday night’s Carbery GAA Convention, McCarthy feels this must be changed to help the flagging divisional teams.

‘It is evident that Carbery suffers more than any other division, from the fact that we have nine clubs in the division that are ineligible for the Carbery senior football team. Like it or not we struggle to bridge the gap between senior and junior football,’ McCarthy says.

‘I am still of the opinion that players who play in the senior county A football and hurling championship should be allowed play for their divisions as all these players are being denied the right to win the Andy Scannell Cup/Sean Óg Murphy Cup and a county senior hurling or football medal.

‘The argument will be made about how will we fit it in but at national level every inter-county player has the chance to win the Sam Maguire Cup and play in the competition.’

In Carbery senior football manager Tim Buckley’s end-of-season report he proposed a number of measures that the Carbery board should consider for the future viability of its divisional teams.

Amongst his suggestions, Buckley has asked the Carbery board to explore whether a proposal to allow the division’s four senior A clubs – Ilen Rovers, Dohenys, O’Donovan Rossa and Bandon – be permitted to play with the Carbery senior football team would be accepted.

Buckley also feels the board needs to appoint a designated individual to liaise directly with the clubs to gather support for the Carbery divisional team. In his report, the Carbery football boss outlined that while feedback and interest from ‘a select group of about 20 players’ was encouraging, another group of 20 attended on an irregular basis while the management also contacted a further 40 players in the division but received a ‘disappointing’ response.

‘We face huge challenges in maintaining interest amongst, firstly, the clubs and, secondly, the players going forward as the rewards for such commitment are just not forthcoming at present. In a nutshell the current format just doesn’t seem to appeal to the players,’ Buckley stresses.

‘Carbery now finds itself at a crossroads. A repeat of the last two years especially will surely result in the stock of the Carbery senior football team being further diminished. Already our once proud footballing division is very far down many peoples’ list of priorities. It is incumbent on all stakeholders to halt this slide now before the position, if not so already, becomes untenable.’

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