Cork camogie team will have a cut off reaching a novel December All-Ireland 

Cork camogie team will have a cut off reaching a novel December All-Ireland 
This year's All-Ireland camogie, ladies football, hurling and football finals won't take place until deep into the winter. Picture: Brendan Moran/SPORTSFILE

THE Camogie Association followed up last week’s draw for the 2020 Liberty Insurance camogie championships by confirming that this year’s senior All-Ireland final will take place at Croke Park on Saturday, December 12.

That will be the day before the rescheduled All-Ireland hurling final and one week before the football finals for both the men and women, 19th for the men and the 20th for the ladies football.

Due to the demands on the pitch in Croke Park in December, this year with various fixtures across all codes due to take place at a time of year when natural grass growth will be limited, the intermediate and premier junior finals will not be played on the same day as has been the case in recent years. That’s hugely disappointing for those players but it’s understandable.

Therefore, the senior camogie final will be a standalone fixture.

There is every chance also that regardless of the fixture time the game will be under Croke Park lights. On a dull December day, you might need the lights on as early as 2pm.

In 2018 Paudie Murray led Cork to All-Ireland senior and intermediate titles in Croke Park and in 2019 Galway Manager Cathal Murray took charge of both teams playing back-to-back All-Ireland finals on All-Ireland final day.

Any manager looking to do similar this year can assume that both grades will be scheduled to take place on different days.

Of course, they will be. On the biggest day of the camogie calendar no other competitive game goes ahead across the country.

The details of the playing of those intermediate and junior finals will be made known in the coming weeks.

What a weekend it would be if Cork were in both the camogie and hurling All Ireland finals. Imagine four finals over two weekends — dare we dream?

Any hope that the camogie association might backtrack on their decision to cancel the minor championship was well and truly dashed last Friday when the submitted appeal failed.

The appeal failed on the grounds of an association rule where the decisions of Ard Chomhairle cannot be challenged. So, the minor intercounty provincial championship will go ahead but the All-Ireland is no more.

It’s bitterly disappointing for many young girls and still the wrong decision in my opinion.

Meanwhile, speaking with Paudie Murray during the week after Cork were placed in group 1 with Galway, Offaly and Wexford in this year’s championship he was quick to state that there are a number of things that would need to go right in advance of the championship kicking off on October 17 for Cork to be where they want to be.

Having said that, 2020 is all about development of a panel where he has introduced a number of young players.

“We won’t have much time to walk through with the group how we want them to play in advance of the championship,” the Cork manager stated.

“It’s a phenomenally tough group and we’ll have six training sessions before it starts. We’ve a very young team and don’t write off Wexford down in Wexford if we happen to play them there.

“They’re getting their players back and there’ll be a bit of pressure on there. But that’s what you’d expect.

“No draws have been made yet so we don’t know who we’re up against first. I understand that Galway believe they are at home to us in the opening round but I’m not sure how they worked that out.

“One would assume that the games will be in neutral venues and good stadiums. Nothing was mentioned about home and away venues being the format the day of the draws.”

True, but nothing was mentioned that evening outside of the groups being selected so a home and away situation could still occur.

And all games are supposed to be in decent enclosed stadiums anyway. Cork were refused championship games in Castle Road because it isn’t an enclosed pitch.

“I agree,” Paudie said.

“But I’m looking at the likes of Thurles, particularly at the time of the year the games are to be played in.

“The sod has to be good. It’ll be dark very early in the day as well. We would prefer not to be playing Galway in our first game with just six sessions behind us but we’ll have to see how that plays out.

“I hope we get the pairings fairly soon. The Cork county senior final is down for decision on September 27.

“We’d be hoping that can be pulled forward to the week before to give us time for another two or three sessions. Most other counties are finishing mid-September.

“It may not matter if the clubs involved don’t have inter-county players involved but we won’t know that until after the semi-finals.”

Will there be joy again for Paudie Murray this winter? Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Will there be joy again for Paudie Murray this winter? Picture: Eddie O'Hare

It’s more difficult for Cork than other counties with so many clubs and divisions involved — it now stands at 16 after Carbery withdrew.

It could be a draw too on the 27th and then we’re in a predicament if we do have inter-county players involved.

But it’s a year with a difference and you can bet that when permission for intercounty training is given Cork will do everything in their power to do themselves justice in this season’s championship even if Paudie states that: “we have a very young team so this year is about participation and development.”

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