Cork GAA: Dual clubs plead for a break between knockout games

After the group placings are decided, successful hurling and football teams will be under pressure to squeeze in their fixtures
Cork GAA: Dual clubs plead for a break between knockout games

Cian Twomey, Newcestown, battling Declan Dalton, Fr O'Neill's. For dual clubs who are successful, the coming weeks will be intense. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

WHAT have Liam O’Shea, Declan Dalton, James Kearney and Alan Fenton in common?

Apart from their Imokilly PSHC links, they are also the leading scorers for their clubs who are favourites to win their respective county championships.

The east Cork representative side are installed as 7/4 fancies to regain the Sean Óg Murphy Cup with Lisgoold’s O’Shea their leading marksman on 0-15 from their two games, including 0-10 against Seandún.

Another east Cork club, Fr O’Neill’s, are quoted 9/4 favourites to lift the senior A title with Dalton showing how by already scoring 1-23 from just a couple of outings.

And there’s no escape from where all the money is in the premier intermediate grade because Castlelyons are 5/4 with the bookies and have joint leading scorers, Kearney on 2-7 and Fenton with 0-13.

Imokilly will know their quarter-final opponents after Sunday’s final round of group games when the six qualifiers will be identified.

Imokilly's Liam O'Shea. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Imokilly's Liam O'Shea. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

Those not certain of being involved at the business end of affairs are striving to join the likes of Sars, Midleton and Douglas who are definitely through, but there’s a sweat for St Finbarr’s, Blackrock, Glen Rovers and Erin’s Own.

Six qualifiers will be ranked 1-6 with Imokilly number 7 and the pre-ordained line-up will feature 2 v 5, 3 v 4 and 6 v 7 in the quarter-finals.

If the current standings continue it would result in Douglas against Erin’s Own, the Barrs against Midleton and the Glen against Imokilly.

The semi-finals would then result in the winners of the Barrs-Midleton tie taking on Sars and the winners of Douglas-Erin’s Own meeting either the Glen or Imokilly.

As to when the knock-out games will be played is very much up in the air as board CEO/Secretary, Kevin O’Donovan, outlined at the monthly meeting during the week.

“We’ve had some queries about quarter-finals, which are down for the last two weekends of the month,” he told delegates.

“We’re being asked about hurling and football. We’re being asked about games, but we can’t answer those questions at the moment.

“We have to wait until we see what teams proceed because we will be endeavouring where possible to give dual clubs a break.

“It’s not guaranteed and not promised, but it’s the gap we’re looking for in the schedule. Can we give them a leg up?

“We acknowledge that there are only Munster deadlines in premier senior, premier intermediate and junior A.

“And we also acknowledge that we’re lucky in that the only competition we’re involved in at the quarter-final stage is in Junior A football.

“So, it’s given us a week or two at the end, albeit with pitches and the weather, but it has given us breathing space.

“We will fight for those fortnights for those dual clubs if they are there. For that reason, us designating all the quarter-finals, hurling one weekend and football the other, will have to wait.

“The CCCC hasn’t even discussed it and any club asking me what weekend we’re playing on I can’t give an answer until we see the teams who come through.

“It would be very easy to slap fixtures in there now, but let’s see who comes through first and there may be a chance for clubs to have a weekend off, especially in senior A, where there is no Munster competition.”

O’Donovan appealed to clubs to continue to make their pitches available.

We are under pressure with venues. One or two clubs have said they’re unable to take games even this weekend.

“I would appeal with clubs, whose pitches are having some wear and tear, to hang in there because we are at breaking point with Páirc Uí Chaoimh and Páirc Uí Rinn.

“I want to acknowledge those clubs who have taken a lot of games already, but I would appeal to them to hang in there for the next two weekends because the number of teams in our competitions will effectively halve after that.

“The games’ programme will become easier to deal with.

“We are a month late due to Covid and next year we should be a month earlier than this,” he concluded.

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