Withdrawal of Beara and an unseasonal storm throw out the Cork GAA fixture list

Withdrawal of Beara and an unseasonal storm throw out the Cork GAA fixture list
Liam Buckley and Denis Lane at the Duhallow and UCC Co-Op Superstores Cork Divisional/Colleges hurling championship at Mourneabbey, which UCC won. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

IF, EARLIER this week, you were to be told that neither of the scheduled Bons Secours Hospital Cork Premier SFC (divisions/colleges) games went ahead on Wednesday night, your Covid-19 antennae would have been pricked into action.

Thankfully, the non-playing of Duhallow v Beara and Carbery v UCC were for different reasons and the championships as a whole remain unaffected for now.

It’s always a shame when a team is unable to field, as was the case with Beara, but numbers are tight for the most westerly division and, given the proliferation of club games over the past month or so, injuries were an inevitability.

It means that Duhallow, beaten finalists in each of the last two seasons, are one game away from a quarter-final without having had to play a match yet.

That could translate into freshness against either Carbery or UCC on Sunday night, but by the same token the match-sharpness picked up by the winners of that semi-final could be of benefit against an as-yet untested Duhallow.

However, the fact that that game will have to be played tonight rather than last night will mean a quick turnaround for the winners.

Strange as it may seem to have an August game called off due to a red weather warning, Storm Ellen ensured that there could be no football played at Cloughduv last night.

Instead, the protagonists will decamp to Páirc Uí Rinn tonight where, hopefully, no boats will be needed and a result will be produced.

It will be the first Cork championship game to be played behind closed doors, in the wake of Tuesday’s government announcement that games should not have spectators in attendance.

From a situation where, a few weeks ago, it seemed like restrictions would be lifted and 500 people could attend matches, instead there has been a u-turn on the infamous roadmap.

Without wishing to sound selfish, we are grateful that the media can still report on games — we are needed now more than ever — but in the bigger picture, it’s a real shame, considering how well things had been progressing.

Still, we have to be grateful that the championships are continuing on Leeside, for now at least.

We have heard anecdotally that one county is considering cancelling its competitions due to an outbreak in a number of clubs, a reminder of just how delicate the house of cards remains.

However, even if Covid is held off from the point of view of inter-county teams being able to play, will there be a point, especially if no spectators are allowed?

We have seen professional football finish out its season but the television money on offer dwarfs anything that the GAA could generate.

Given the finance necessary for county boards to put teams on the field, it’s only natural that the question will be raised as to whether the money could be put to better use.

There have been growing noises as to whether the championships should take place at all and, realistically, with no patrons, it’s hard to see how it could happen without a grant from the government, who may not be all that positively predisposed towards the GAA after Tuesday night’s statement by the association, challenging the decision to go behind closed doors.

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