CORK CITY will continue to play their home games at Turner’s Cross for the 2021 season – and the club’s women’s team will also be based at the venue.
In December, Grovemoor Ltd announced that it would not be taking up a call-option to purchase City at the present time, with an inability to secure agreement with the Munster Football Association – the owners of the ground – a factor in the decision.
At the time, the club explored alternative options for the coming SSE Airtricity League First Division campaign, including nearby Musgrave Park and the training ground at Bishopstown.
While it is hoped that Grovemoor and the MFA can come to a mutually beneficial arrangement, as yet there has been no further progress on the takeover but City and the MFA have brokered a deal that will see the senior men’s and women’s side play at Turner’s Cross.
Commenting on the news, Éanna Buckley, Operations Manager of Cork City FC, said: “The news that our women’s team will play their fixtures at Turner’s Cross is a very positive and welcome development, both for ourselves and for the league as a whole.
"When we suggested moving the women’s fixtures to Turner’s Cross, the Munster Football Association were very receptive to the idea, and it was simply a case then of working out the logistics. I would like to thank Barry Cotter and his colleagues at the Munster FA for their assistance in making this happen.
"We all long for the day that fans can return to stadia in their numbers, and I am sure that our wonderful support will be right behind both of the teams as soon as they get the opportunity to do so.”
Welcoming the news, Cork City Women’s manager Rónán Collins said: “This is something that we had been discussing internally for a while, and we are absolutely thrilled at the prospect of playing at Turner’s Cross in the 2021 season. It’s a huge step for the club, women’s football in the area and even the WNL as a whole to be playing in a venue like Turner's Cross.
"The one club mentality at City is really pushing on women’s football and as a club, we can be very proud of what we are building. I know it will be a real shot in the arm for the players, and we are very thankful to everyone at the club and the MFA who have made this happen.”
Administrator with the Munster Football Association, Barry Cotter, said: “We are very pleased with this news, which will see the Cork City’s men’s and women’s teams play in Turner’s Cross for the first time. We are very proud that Turner’s Cross is seen as the home of football in Cork, and this reaffirms that once again.
"We are all now looking forward to the 2021 season, as we welcome Cork City back to Turner’s Cross, and we hope it will not be too long before we can welcome supporters back, and games involving our local leagues here as well.”
However, one player who won’t be involved with as City begin life in the second tier is centre-back Jake O’Brien.
The 19-year-old was a rare bright spot in what was a difficult season for the Rebel Army and he attracted interest from abroad, with Crystal Palace set to sign him.
City are entitled to compensation for developing O’Brien, who came up through the ranks, but it is believed that they have made a deal with Palace whereby a smaller up-front fee is paid and the club will be entitled to a percentage of any future sale of the defender.