Frustration for club players over fixtures in Cork goes on

Frustration for club players over fixtures in Cork goes on
Carbery Rangers'    Padraig Hodnett knocks the ball past Douglas' Mark Dolan during the Cork SFC game at Clonakilty on Tuesday. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

THE footballers of Newcestown and St Finbarr's must have let off a huge sigh of relief on hearing the result of the Munster U21 hurling final during the week.

Of course, they'll have been disappointed with Limerick's victory over Cork, especially with players from both clubs involved, but the outcome has at least brought some certainty.

It now means their outstanding round 2B game in the county senior football championship can go ahead as planned on August 19, the same date as the meeting of Castlehaven and Carbery in the final game in round 2A.

Anyone who doesn't believe there's a major issue with the glaring lack of a proper fixtures' schedule should consider the plight of Newcestown alone.

They played their first championship game on April 9, when losing by 0-14 to 0-9 to Douglas in a preliminary round game in Brinny.

When they eventually get around to playing the Barrs, their wait will be some four-and-half months while their opponents have the 'luxury' of having a fortnight less to hang around.

The Haven's wait is equally frustrating. They defeated CIT by 1-14 to 0-12 on April 17 with Carbery last out in competitive action on May 14, when they overcame Ilen Rovers by 4-16 to 1-12 in a first-round replay.

As if further proof were needed, but these two games reflect the folly of trying to balance club games in a dual hurling and football county like Cork at the height of the inter-county season.

There was another example, too, when the Glanworth-Millstreet intermediate football championship, which was meant to have been played last evening, was postponed mid-week, again because of pending county duties. 

It's a major headache for all involved from club players, coaches, managers, selectors, family and friends to those trying to run the various championships, but it's crying out for change because such a hap-hazard approach can't be sustained for much longer.

Douglas coach Mick Evans outlined a case of one player before their round 2A game against the champions, Carbery Rangers, in Clonakilty on Tuesday night.

“We had a lad who flew in from Spain an hour before the game and he came back specially for the match. That's not right. Lads should know when exactly they are playing," he said.

All clubs with the honour of having Cork players in their set-up know exactly how problematic it is to try and organise training and actually play games when the inter-county season is in full swing.

Evans outlined the frustrations from a coaching perspective given that Douglas had three players, Eoin Cadogan, Sean Powter and Kevin Conlon, involved with Cork seniors.

“We've set plays off free kicks. We organise our defence and attack, but you can't do that when you don't have your Cork players.

“We had no training session before the Carbery Rangers game, so how am I as a coach supposed to get the lads in-tune to what we are doing? It can't be done and it's very frustrating.

“We want to coach our teams well. We can't do that because we don't know, when the games are going to be played.

“You're trying to get these guys up to a level of fitness, but you can't be peaking all the time,” he said.

The Rosscarbery club's 2-11 to 1-13 triumph means they are the fifth team through to the fourth round, joining Duhallow, Nemo Raners, UCC, Valley Rovers and the winners of the Haven-Carbery tie.

Douglas, who overcame Clyda Rovers as well as Newcestown, join 10 others in round three.

Carrigaline, CIT, Muskerry, Clyda, Kiskeam, Ilen, Ballincollig, Avondhu, Bishopstown, Seandún and the winners of the Newcestown/Barrs encounter complete the list.

The premier intermediate football championship should also become a bit clearer following this evening's game between Fermoy and Naomh Abán in Ballygarvan and tomorrow's Mallow-Ballingeary tie in Blarney. Rounds three and four will be ready for the draws.

St Finbarr's attacker Bill O'Connell takes on Aghabullogue's John Buckley in an IFC clash at Brinny. Their seniors have been inactive since April. Picture: David Keane.
St Finbarr's attacker Bill O'Connell takes on Aghabullogue's John Buckley in an IFC clash at Brinny. Their seniors have been inactive since April. Picture: David Keane.

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