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Finals postponed until 2021

Wednesday, 21st October, 2020 2:46pm

With club activity still on hold, the focus this weekend is once again on the intercounty scene.

For the clubs that are still waiting to conclude their championships, I am sure it is a very frustrating time and the added complication of a ban on adult training only adds to the frustration.

Some counties have already decided to defer the conclusion of their championships until January, and Cork County Board’s followed suit yesterday.

Cork GAA said that unplayed senior and intermediate county finals have been postponed until 5-7 March at the earliest.

Junior A, B and C championships will resume on 5-7 February at the earliest, with a brief period to be allowed for the completion of Divisional championships in early February where required.

A tough one to call, and given that the current restrictions are in place until 1 December, it leaves little time to conclude the championships.

While one weekend would see several county finals complete, Éire Óg are involved in two, clubs would need at least a couple of weeks’ notice of the fixture to get in some degree of preparation, a number of whom I understand stopped training even before Level 5 was introduced.

The other complication is of course, the Cork teams and how far they progress in their respective championships.

Naturally, we want them all to go the distance and reach the All-Ireland finals, a tall order I know, but hasn’t it been that kind of year it could happen?

Then there’s the issue, with the exception of senior football, who plays where in 2021? Promotion is hinging on results and in the intermediate hurling grade there is a three-way relegation battle to be resolved.

If these championships are not completed, the draws for 2021 are unlikely to be made, not an easy time to be an administrator and a few tough calls to make in the coming week.

Camogie

It wasn’t the best of starts for the camogie championship last week with the furore over the fixture clash with ladies football championship games and then Offaly conceded their game to Cork which means Paudie Murray’s side will not start their campaign for another week when they’re at home to Wexford.

Credit also to the Galway senior management who facilitated a change of days with Cork and that game now goes ahead on Sunday 8 November - it’s amazing what a bit of dialogue can do.

The attention this weekend is on the Cork intermediate team who open their campaign when Kerry visit Castle Road on Saturday at 2pm. Meath are the third team in this group, and with just one team advancing, a win here is vital.

Mark McCarthy has prepared the team well, and while injuries and work commitments deprive him of some good players, there is enough quality in the squad to get a result.

Lydia Cunningham, Finola Neville, Ashling Moloney, Rachel O’Shea and Sarah Aherne all have plenty of experience at both club and county level.

Time was when Kerry would be considered an easy win for most counties but those days are long gone and the bulk of the Kingdom panel would have featured in winning the All-Ireland Junior title last year. Niamh Leen, Patrice Diggin, Sara Murphy, Brid Horan, Clodagh Walsh and Ann Marie Leen among them.

With it being a first outing for both sides there is no form to go on, but maybe home advantage might give Cork the edge.

 

Footballers complete job

As expected, Cork made it six from six in Division 3 of the Allianz National Football League and in the process secured promotion for next year, with a game to spare.

Well that was the scenario until word filtered through on Tuesday morning that Longford were conceding the game that was due to be played on Sunday. Arrangements were also being made for the cup to be in Longford for Cork to collect.

It came as no surprise that Longford gave a walk-over as their manager, Padraig Davis, felt it was a dead rubber and that there was little point in dragging Cork on a journey that could have been avoided.

It’s actually the second walk-over in Division 3 as Leitrim, for different reasons, failed to field against Down last weekend.

Even allowing for the weakness of the opposition, Cork looked very good at times against Louth; the five goals were excellently created and finished. However, conceding 16 points, with some silly fouls, will need to be eradicated for the Kerry game.

The walk-over deprives Cork of game time, especially for some players that needed a match, but with Longford indicating they would be concentrating on their championship against Louth a week later, it might actually work to Cork’s advantage.

Ronan McCarthy and his team can now get in extra training sessions, with in-house games, and with no long journey to undertake it might actually work in their favour - time will tell.

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