There has been no takeover of the stadium, the Croke Park link-up won't impact on the clubs

There has been no takeover of the stadium, the Croke Park link-up won't impact on the clubs
Chairperson, Tracey Kennedy, speaking to the convention. Picture: Jim Coughlan

A MEETING of the board of directors of Páirc Uí Chaoimh tonight is expected to deal with reports of an over-spend of €25m in the stadium’s redevelopment.

County chairperson, Tracy Kennedy, said at the annual convention, which ran for four-and-half hours on Saturday night, that a statement is expected after the Monday meeting.

“In relation to stadium costs, the expected final cost has been recorded in the audited financial statements of this board and while they may be subject to change due to a number of contractual matters and income streams to be finalised and confirmed, the cost remains at €86.5m,” Kennedy said.

Delegates were told stadium costs still reside in the county board accounts until the imminent transfer of the stadium to Páirc Uí Chaoimh companies. 

“Those companies, and through them the stadium, are in the full ownership of Cork County Board. There has been no takeover of the stadium.

“As clearly outlined in the secretary’s report, we have chosen to enter into a commercial agreement with Croke Park for a minimum of three years, which I consider to be a hugely positive step and development for this stadium.”

Ms Kennedy stressed the whole point of creating a company to run the stadium was to separate the finances of the stadium from the finances of the county board.

“There are no plans to levy clubs and the stadium will have no negative day-to-day running of this board or impact on our inter-county teams,” she added.

Meanwhile, two motions from Glen Rovers proposing banning divisions from competing in the county senior hurling and football championships and restricting UCC and CIT players were decisively rejected by delegates.

Glen delegate Jude O’Callaghan said not all divisions competed and clubs were not afforded that luxury.

“We must battle it out every year to preserve our senior status while divisions are not subject to relegation and are not even subject to a penalty if they decide not to enter a team.

“This is not a knee-jerk reaction to the success of Imokilly’s back-to-back county titles. Our club voted on December 3, 2017, to propose this motion.

“The purpose of our motion is simple. We just want to level the playing field for club players.

“Our financial costs grow every year while the divisions’ are borne by the divisions themselves through gate receipts, grants and sponsorship.

“The club player plays in one championship, while those players with divisions have the luxury of playing in two championships. Is this fair?” O’Callaghan asked.

Imokilly’s Paudie O’Sullivan with James Nagle of Midleton. Picture: INPHO/Oisin Keniry
Imokilly’s Paudie O’Sullivan with James Nagle of Midleton. Picture: INPHO/Oisin Keniry

But, it was evident early on that there was little support as a series of speakers like Tony McAuliffe (Duhallow), Willie Ring (Imokilly), Joe Crowley (Bandon) and ‘Junior’ Scully (Killeagh) voiced their disapproval. “Having the divisions is a good concept. It is good for the players and their clubs. This motion is ill-founded, divisive and not the way to do it,” said Ring.

The temperature rose, when Scully addressed the convention, saying senior clubs in the past were like ‘vultures circling small villages’ in trying to coax players to the city. “They neglected their own,” he commented.

A show of hands reflected convention’s feelings to the motion and it was heavily defeated.

The Glen’s second motion concerned senior players from outside Cork lining out with either UCC or CIT in the county championships.

They proposed the third-level teams should comprise lower-grade players.

“We have teams of superstars going out to play against club teams in the senior hurling championship.

“And we don’t know from one week to the next what kind of a team is going to be available to the colleges.

“They can go out and beat a title contender one week, but lose to a team considered no-hopers the next, simply because there is no consistency,” O’Callaghan said.

Both Charlie McCarthy from CIT and Seamus Coffey from UCC both rejected the term ‘superstars’.

“We’ve reached one hurling final,” said McCarthy. “We’ve won two counties in 120 years,” added Coffey.

But, Willie Coleman (Carrigtwohill), asked the question would his club have won the county in 2011 had Colin Fennelly been in the CIT team?

“He didn’t play because he was playing with his own club Ballyhale Shamrocks in Kilkenny.”

Outgoing secretary Frank Murphy said the proposal degraded teams and the championship.

“It would be a retrograde decision to send this motion to Congress,” he added.

When put to a vote, it was well beaten on a show of hands.

A section of a four-part motion from the county executive proposing a player transferring to the ‘first club’ of his father was passed.

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