The Paudie Palmer column: Cork GAA clubs need to grab this chance

The Paudie Palmer column: Cork GAA clubs need to grab this chance
Brian Hartnett, Douglas, battles Sean Kiely, Peter O'Neill and JP Murphy, Ballincollig, in last year's SFC. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

SO have we reached the promised land? The GAA is back in full swing from next Monday, with adult teams allowed to train, in small groups, since last night.

Leo’s latest padlock disposal scheme has all but consigned the lockdown to history, in theory anyway.

Prior to any mention of the GAA’s pathway to return to action, I may have a confession to make, and in doing so will probably give rise to concerns about some of the wiring in the cerebral system.

Yes, dear readers, this column got quite used to lockdown and to borrow from a more informed one, I may be suffering from a condition known as Stockholm Syndrome. Honestly, I am somewhat amazed at the speed of exit.

Going back a few weeks ago, many contacts with this page were of the opinion that the playing pastures were on a full sabbatical for 2020 and that we might consider ourselves rather fortunate if our needs were satisfied in early 2021.

Now all has changed, with pitches welcoming human activity since yesterday, challenge games can take place from Monday next, with competitive club games given the green light from July 17. This rate of change could be described as nothing short of metamorphic.

Last Friday night, as a rather lapsed Man Utd fan, I decided to view what they were up to in their game against Spurs. 

Having been brainwashed to believe that nobody dislikes the North London side, this viewing could be described as a rather passive event until the well-paid Harry Maguire must have thought that he was in a pub and spotted a member of the police force coming in the front door, and realised that he needed to observe the one-metre rule on social distancing.

Roy Keane of Manchester United and Arsenal's Patrick Vieira in a famous battle in the 1999 Premier League. Picture: Sean Dempsey/PA Wire.
Roy Keane of Manchester United and Arsenal's Patrick Vieira in a famous battle in the 1999 Premier League. Picture: Sean Dempsey/PA Wire.

His benevolence was only matched by the cúl baire David de Gea and Tottenham were one in front. The half- time tea break soon followed and Mayfield’s Roy Keane was in full flight.

He informed us he was flabbergasted at the ineptitude of the two aforementioned Man Utd defenders. Sometime later in the evening, it could be said that yours truly had also contracted the flabbergasted virus after reading a brief article on the sister production.

The article in question stated that Cork senior hurlers had earlier met with county board officials to express their concerns about the proposed county championship format, which in their opinion would not allow them adequate time to prepare for the inter-county games, which will not begin until October 17 at the earliest.

Maybe I am totally out of sync with reality, but it is a while since I shared emotions with Roy Keane.

First thought that struck me was something that was mentioned in last week’s piece, where I suggested that Kieran Kingston and Ronan McCarthy should issue a joint statement declaring that for this year, the club teams would receive their full backing in completing their championship programme. Please don’t tell me that the outstanding contribution made by the clubs in the provision of help to the vulnerable in their communities, together with their massive charitable fundraising in recent times is now forgotten. I can’t accept that eaten bread is forgotten that quickly in Cork.

Also, last week, did I not mention something along the lines that Davy Fitzgerald and his latest army were endeavouring to steal a march on the other hurling counties in an effort to win the Covid version of Liam.

This Cork hurling team is serious about its intentions. Clubs, what clubs? Again, I am going to request your forgiveness for not understanding the following. Just say that they were within their rights to meet with county board officials at this time to discuss their concerns, how and why did the details of this meeting have to make it into the public domain?

Was the meeting location bugged? Coronagate, eat your heart out! Who leaked the information? If you want my opinion, and you probably don’t, this was a public relations disaster. One individual who made contact with this corner wanted to know was another strike looming. Another march down the Marina carrying banners ‘Cork hurlers matter’. I wonder would Roy be flabbergasted.

Now to the proposed county championship programme, and by the way this column wasn’t aware of the existence of one when writing this, as the powers that be decided to wait until Croke Park produced the inter-county plan. Yes there was mention that the groups already agreed would stand, where each team would be guaranteed three games, but that was it.

The plan prior to Covid was that when the group stages were completed in the premier senior championship there would follow, preliminary quarter-finals, quarters, semis, and finals. I thinking it’s fair to suggest that our canine friends on the streets are aware that the limited time frame of 11 weeks wouldn’t allow all that, even though that 11 weeks could easily become 12 in light of the announcement that club championships could begin in mid-July.

However, if the groups were maintained and that was followed by semifinals and final, approximately 75% of the both inter-county panel could have up to eight weeks to prepare for their respective opening games in this year’s provincial championship.

It might not harm for those troubled hurling ones to realise that there are in excess of 420 adult club teams in Cork who deserve some crack of the whip at this time.

I hope this flabbergasted virus doesn’t take hold!

Another march down the Marina carrying banners ‘Cork hurlers matter’. Would Roy be flabbergasted?

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