A CORK-KERRY Munster football final under lights at Páirc Uí Chaoimh on a Saturday evening is the exciting prospect for GAA fans, if both counties manage to come through the earlier rounds.
The release of the GAA’s Fixtures Masters Plan for 2018 contained some significant changes to previous campaigns and this will be the first ever senior provincial football final to be played on a Saturday night, June 23.
Cork, of course, must first get past the winners Tipperary or Waterford in the semi-final and if that is the Premier County, the game will be played in Semple Stadium. Kerry will be expected to get past Clare or Limerick in their semi-final.
It now looks increasingly likely that the brand new Cork stadium will not get the opportunity to host games in the 2023 World Rugby Cup after the recommendation by World Rugby’s technical review group that South Africa get to host the tournament in six years time.
Three countries had sought to host the event, South Africa, France and Ireland and given the fact that the Irish bid had been very well received when it was unveiled in London last September, it was a big surprise when they failed to top any of the five criteria set out in the audit process.
Yesterday’s assessment found that Páirc Uí Chaoimh, Pearse Stadium in Galway and Fitzgerald in Killarney required a significant level of outlay which is flagged as a risk to get them up to World Cup standard.
Killarney, mooted as a host city, was singled out as being significantly smaller than other bidders’ cities.
Issues with the level of seating in venues were also highlighted.
The review also found that Ireland lacked the prior experience of an event like the World Cup.
Meanwhile, the Cork hurlers and footballers will begin their national hurling and football league campaigns on Saturday, January 27 with games against Kilkenny and Tipperary respectively at Páirc Uí Chaoimh.
The Munster championship campaign will begin for the Cork hurlers with a home game against Clare on May 20 and that will be followed a week later with a trip to Thurles to face Tipperary.
Next up will be a home game against Limerick on June 2 with the final round-robin game on June 17 against Waterford in Walsh Park The Munster final is pencilled in for July 1.