West Cork clubs made voices heard in debate

April 9th, 2019 5:00 PM

By Denis Hurley

Clonakilty chairman Ger McCarthy.

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PRIOR to the vote being held on Tuesday night, the floor was open to contributions and a number of West Cork club delegates spoke.

Regarding Option C, John O’Donovan of Clann na nGael queried the possibility of a team finishing fourth in its group after losing three of five games but still progressing to the quarter-final stages. He wondered if that would indeed improve the quality of the championships while he also asked if home and away games might become part of the group stages.

Clonakilty’s Ger McCarthy focused on the lack of inter-county player availability for one or two games if Option C was chosen.

‘We fully recognise the need for change and appreciate that a lot of work and time has gone into this,’ he said.

‘However, we have six players on Cork panels and we can’t and won’t play without them. We’re willing to forgo the Kelleher Shield without Cork players and are happy finishing outside the relegation zone in that but we’d be completely decimated if we had to play championship without them.

‘We’d ask the players to make the call in that instance and that’s why we think Option A is the best.’

Peter Fleming of Argideen Rangers welcomed the fact that delegates were being given a choice between three options and congratulated the board’s executive for putting them forward.

He felt that the inter-county scene had eclipsed club activity and felt that there was an opportunity to reverse that.

‘You look at rugby,’ he said, ‘ask most people if they know who the All-Ireland League winners are and they couldn’t tell you.

‘We have a clear choice to put some emphasis back on the club scene. The reality is that only one or two percent of the playing population play inter-county. The other 98 percent must twiddle their thumbs and other sports like soccer will fill that vacuum.’

A number of clubs, such as Glen Rovers, Nemo Rangers, St Michael’s and St Nicholas, questioned the haste with which clubs would have to vote and expressed the wish that the current system would also have been on the ballot, while Douglas, the Glen and St Finbarr’s also agreed with Clonakilty regarding the spectre of teams having to play without their intercounty stars.

County chair Tracey Kennedy and secretary Kevin O’Donovan thanked all delegates for their honest contributions and expressed gratitude that such a wide-ranging debate had taken place, devoid of rancour.

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