Paudie Palmer: West Cork's famous county final win could turn out to have been their last game 

Divisional side won't be allowed enter the senior championship this year under current ladies football rules
Paudie Palmer: West Cork's famous county final win could turn out to have been their last game 

Doireann O'Sullivan, Mourneabbey, closes in on Emma Spillane, West Cork, in last year's Ladies Football Senior A final. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

FOR us scribblers who suffer from blank-page syndrome on occasion, a line from Ruby Walsh’s weekend column for The Irish Examiner resonated more than a little.

Early in the week, he was pondering as to what he might write about and would he have enough to fill his allocated space? Then the Gordon Elliot story came over the hill, leaving the horse racing landscape in tatters.

But if Ruby has to ponder what he should write about with race meetings taking place all over Great Britain and Ireland every day, what about those of us whose chosen activity is deemed non-elite? No, I don’t expect you to reach for the tissues just yet!

On Monday, the planet celebrated International Women’s Day and how could this column not make reference to some mná happenings.

Unfortunately, this isn't a positive point. As is the case with many female sports, gaining the big headlines is always somewhat of a challenge and even when there is a wee controversy, not all media outlets are interested. 

Last year one of the big events in Cork ladies football was the county final between West Cork and Mourneabbey, the best club team in the land. The build-up to the game received a serious amount of publicity and the game itself was a thriller before the divisional side emerged victorious.

I would argue that no other county ladies county football final attracted such coverage. However, shortly after the final, it would appear that the Ladies Gaelic Football Association were not impressed.

There is no facility within the LGFA championship structures for the inclusion of divisional teams in county championships.

There is, however, an arrangement for amalgamated teams. There are strict guidelines though: three junior teams or a junior and an intermediate team are the only combinations allowed.

The LGFA’s assertion that the Cork Ladies Football Board did not comply with guidelines was borne out by the imposition of a €1,500 fine. The message was that the entry of divisional teams in the Cork championship was not permitted.

 Aine O'Sullivan, West Cork captain, with the cup last year. Picture: Jim Coughlan.
Aine O'Sullivan, West Cork captain, with the cup last year. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

West Cork, naturally, want to defend their title and in a bid to facilitate this happening, a recent Cork EGM submitted a motion for this year’s Congress that divisional teams would be allowed to participate.

Now here is the dilemma.

As some of you may be aware, the LGFA held a virtual congress of sorts last weekend.

I use the term 'sorts' because motions of a contentious nature did not make the clár, the idea being that non-virtual congress will be held some in the future.

The last time, I checked the vaccination league table, I didn’t see any mention of LGFA delegates to congress mentioned.

When it does happen, and God only knows when that will be, and the Cork motion comes up for discussion, I think the motion won’t and can’t succeed simply because Cork is the only county that has divisional structures.

So it would appear that West Cork will not be on the starting blocks when club championship 2021 begins. For many out west, that scenario does not sit well.

We will have to wait and see if there is any way out...

REBELS BOUNTY SUCCESS

As you may have gathered from time time, this column may have an underlying fetish for figures.

During the first lockdown, we took an interest in the amount of money that was raised for charities by various Cork GAA, camogie and ladies football units. It came to almost a million.

When I look back at that time, it was in so many ways, if I could use the word 'enjoyable'. We had beautiful weather and so many of our citizens were in helpful mode.

When the new version of the county board draw, Rebels Bounty was mooted, it generated controversy. There was a minimum sales target for each club, which increased if your adult team was junior, intermediate or senior, before they could retain the profit.

First out of the block were those against it, and to fair with the help of a number of media outlets, they appeared to be getting their message across. You could ask, should they have organised a street protest?

We have been informed from time to time not to underestimate the unintended consequences of any action.

Last year, the amount, after expenses, that went into the board coffers was €246,136 with €682,586 going back to the clubs. Recently, it was brought to our attention that the new edition has already raised over a million for the clubs.

Yes, and I am guessing, that when the last ticket is sold on March 25 the clubs' take could be close to €1.2 million, that is an increase in excess of 75%.

Of course, we will have to wait until the end of the year for the official figures, but I would suggest that the County Board’s increase could be around 25%.

In essence, those that suggested the new draw was a levy on clubs would appear now to be well wide of the mark. 

What actually has transpired is a relatively risk-free income generation stream for the clubs, not only for this year but for years in the future.

I may have mentioned previously, that as the vast majority of clubs have sold their minimum number, anybody who buys a ticket between here and Thursday week, the entire €100 will go to your club. And in addition, you will be in with a chance to win some rather tasty prizes.

It has been suggested that part of the buy-in was from the engagement with clubs by those operating on behalf of the Cork County Board.

During some of these interactions, some deferral arrangements in terms of quotas may have been put in place but the end result is that majority of clubs are now on board.

The interactions also revealed which clubs are struggling. Hopefully, they will now receive assistance from the board. Relationships are a two-way street.

CONTACT: paudie.palmer@hotmail.com; Twitter: @paudiep

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