Throwback Thursday: Cork and Meath was once the clash of two football superpowers

Throwback Thursday: Cork and Meath was once the clash of two football superpowers
Podsie O'Mahony, Cork, in action against Jimmy McGuinness and Jody Devine, Meath. Picture: Aoife Rice/SPORTSFILE

THERE was a time when the Cork-Meath football rivalry took on a life of its own and captivated the whole country.

Between 1987 and 1990 they squared up in four All-Ireland finals with Meath annexing the '87 and '88 titles, the latter after a replay, before Cork exacted revenge in '90, having overcome Mayo the year before.

The counties clashed again in 1999 with Meath winning and while they were back at Croke Park a couple of years later, the Royals haven't appeared in one since while Cork's most recent was in 2010.

Most of the players from both sides who meet in a division 2 tie at Páirc Uí Rinn on Saturday at 7pm weren't even born at the stage, when relationships were strained to say the least.

Thankfully, they've mended and mellowed over time with a much greater mutual respect and better understanding of one another now.

That's not to say it will be all wine and roses tonight because the points at stake are important to both, Meath to remain on top of a very tight division and Cork to move up the table from the current bottom position.

Meanwhile, the county board's plans for a comprehensive review of all adult club competitions in Cork ahead of next season will start to gather momentum in the coming weeks.

To suggest the various football championships, in particular, need urgent attention would be one of the great understatements.

There are clearly too many teams in the senior championship for one thing, ranging from clubs way out of their depth to struggling divisions to the two third-level colleges, UCC and CIT.

The board are planning to have competitive formats and calendars agreed by all concerned before the start of this season's championship in April even though the divisions and colleges are in action in football next month.

Submissions can be emailed to before next Friday, March 1, at 12 noon, reference both football/hurling and both divisional/county competitions.

They are to include a calendar of dates and formats for leagues and championships, the number of teams in each grade or competition and any other recommendations.

The matter will be discussed at the next county board meeting on Tuesday before an open club form for all clubs will be held in Páirc Uí Chaoimh from 10am to 1pm on Saturday, March 9.

Clubs can send two representatives per affiliation and one of them must be a current player and the other an officer or mentor.

The recommendations will be interesting and the final package even intriguing, especially coming in the aftermath of the launch of the five-year plan for football in the county.

One of many key objectives in the document was to increase the competitiveness of club championships, particularly the senior version.

A major objective outlined the importance of reintroducing promotion and relegation to all levels of championships and yet you'd wonder how many clubs would support the idea of dropping down a grade.

Convention rallied strongly behind college and division participation in the senior championships, but there's one question regularly asked of UCC and CIT.

Will they be governed by any new proposals regarding relegation or is their senior status guaranteed?

That and much, much more will get an airing in what is a critical time for all involved in club football in particular.

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