WHAT do you do when you are a sports section and have no live sport, you ask.
Well, you dip your hand into your secret, emergency-use-only box of ideas and see what you pull out – and this one, we’ll boast, is a beauty.
Feast your eyes on Pitch Perfect.
We want to find the best GAA pitch in West Cork and it’s you, our readers, that call the shots here by voting on Twitter polls. Let’s explain.
With 26 GAA clubs in Carbery and six in Beara, it gives us the magical number of 32, which is ideal for a World Cup style group stage and then knock-out format that will go from the last 16, to quarter-finals, then semi-finals, before the grand final later this month.
On this week’s Star Sport Podcast, we held the draw with the names of the 32 clubs from Carbery and Beara placed into the draw bag (we’re working remotely from home so our access to a draw drum was limited).
From there, we drew out the names of all 32 clubs and they were divided into eight different groups (Group A to Group H). Starting on Friday morning, and beginning with Group A, we will run a Twitter poll every day (poll opens at 10am and closes at 2am, for the night owls) on my Twitter page (@KieranMcC_SS) where you can vote for your favourite pitch in the various groups. It will take us eight days to get through the eight groups.
The top two pitches, as voted on by you, will then proceed to the knock-out stages. In the event of any draws (i.e three teams finish on same percentage of votes), we’ll run a quick 30-minute poll the following morning at 9am to decide who advances to the last 16.
In the last 16, it’s knock-out from here on in – one pitch versus another. Again, we’ll run Twitter polls every day, starting at 10am and through to 2am, until we work our way down to the final two later this month.
Now, just to clarify a few things. This is the search for the best GAA pitch in West Cork, not the best venue. This is all about the playing surface. The pitch is an unsung hero of the GAA. Without it, the games couldn’t be played. A good pitch lends itself to a better game, as opposed to a mudbath with grass up past your ankles, so think of a pitch that you enjoyed playing on. Or for those of you who have never played or have hung up your boots, think of a pitch that you thought, ‘Jesus, I’d love to play on that.’
We’re lucky here in West Cork that we have so many top-class GAA pitches and it’s going to be interesting to see which club’s pitch comes out on top. So when you’re voting, keep in mind it’s for the best pitch. And for clubs with two pitches, we’re talking about their main pitch.
Is it Clonakilty’s smooth surface in Ahamilla? Or are Castlehaven and Moneyvollahane in with a shout here? Bantry Blues have put a lot of work into their pitch so will that bear fruit? We’ve already heard one or two back Tadhg MacCarthaigh’s home pitch at Aughaville – will that get your vote? Out further west, Bere Island’s pitch is the only pitch in the 32 not on the mainland – will that swing a few votes their way? Bandon GAA’s home pitch has to be in the reckoning, right? The options are endless. Well, not really, there are only 32 options to pick from, so start voting from this Friday morning and let’s see where we end up.
For the overall winner, we’ll give their pitch a write-up in The Southern Star. Get voting!
The eight groups are as follows, with two to advance from each to the last 16:
Group A: Castlehaven, Diarmuid Ó Mathunas, Randal Óg, St James.
Group B: Carbery Rangers, Kilmeen-Kilbree, O’Donovan Rossa, St Colum’s.
Group C: Ballinascarthy, Gabriel Rangers, Kilmacabea, St Mary’s.
Group D: Bandon, Clonakilty, Clann na nGael, Glengarriff.
Group E: Adrigole, Argideen Rangers, Bere Island, Kilbrittain.
Group F: Bantry Blues, Dohenys, Goleen, Ilen Rovers.
Group G: Castletownbere, Muintir Bháire, Newcestown, St Oliver Plunkett’s.
Group H: Barryroe, Garnish, Tadhg MacCarthaigh, Urhan.
DATES TO REMEMBER
Friday, April 3rd – Group A
Saturday, April 4th – Group B
Sunday, April 5th – Group C
Monday, April 6th – Group D
Tuesday, April 7th – Group E
Wednesday, April 8th – Group F
Thursday, April 9th – Group G
Friday, April 10th – Group H
Saturday, April 11th – Winner A v Runner-up B (1)
Sunday, April 12th – Winner B v Runner-up A (2)
Monday, April 13th – Winner C v Runner-up D (3)
Tuesday, April 14th – Winner D v Runner-up C (4)
Wednesday, April 15th – Winner E v Runner-up F (5)
Thursday, April 16th – Winner F v Runner-up E (6)
Friday, April 17th – Winner G v Runner-up H (7)
Saturday, April 18th – Winner H v Runner-up G (8)
Sunday, April 19th – Winner 1 v Winner 2 (9)
Monday, April 20th – Winner 3 v Winner 4 (10)
Tuesday, April 21st – Winner 5 v Winner 6 (11)
Wednesday, April 22nd – Winner 7 v Winner 8 (12)
Thursday, April 23rd – Winner 9 v Winner 10
Friday, April 24th – Winner 11 v Winner 12
Saturday, April 25th