Des Cullinane says Cork footballers and county board are marching to same tune

“There is a consistency, this is a unanimous decision taken across players and management. We can’t change now at this stage.”
Des Cullinane says Cork footballers and county board are marching to same tune

The Cork and Kerry teams in the parade prior to last year's Munster SFC final in Fitzgerald Stadium in Killarney. Picture: Cathal Noonan

Cork football selector Des Cullinane says he appreciates the united front of support given to the team regarding the venue for next month’s Munster SFC semi-final against Kerry.

With Páirc Uí Chaoimh unavailable for the game on May 7, the game was initially set for Páirc Uí Rinn but last week the Munster Council announced that the fixture would take place at Fitzgerald Stadium in Killarney so as to satisfy demand for attendance.

However, the Cork squad have said that they will not play anywhere else other than Páirc Uí Rinn and Cullinane is satisfied that the backing of the county board will ensure a positive outcome.

“We are just waiting for Cork County Board to let us know what time the game is on in Páirc Uí Rinn,” he said at Wednesday's Sports Direct championship preview event at Páirc Uí Chaoimh.

“We are kind of happy enough that they have guaranteed us their full support and really the ball is in the Munster Council’s court now. We have set out our position; we are playing the match in Páirc Uí Rinn and we are kind of confident enough that common sense will prevail and that the game will go ahead in Páirc Uí Rinn.

“We want to honour the fixture that was made on February 1, 2022. We were told the match was in Páirc Uí Rinn and our preparation has been around playing in Páirc Uí Rinn. We have a couple of challenge games coming up there now the next couple of weeks and I just think it is a pity that this confusion has arisen and we are determined that we will honour the first fixture which is Páirc Uí Rinn.

“We appreciate the board’s full support and it is important that we have this united front and there is no dispute between us. We are all on the page for this and we are happy enough to leave them deal with the matter.

“There is a consistency, this is a unanimous decision taken across players and management. We can’t change now at this stage.”

While Cullinane understands to a degree the rationale for moving the match to a larger venue, finance should not be the primary driver when it means Cork losing a home match.

“There are a lot of economic arguments you can make one way or the other,” he said.

“Can you guarantee that there will be 22,000 down in Killarney? I don’t know whether there will be or not. There mightn’t be.

“Look, there is going to be a huge scramble for tickets for Cork and Waterford in Walsh Park and I am sure there will be a similar scramble for tickets for Limerick and Clare in Ennis. If the Munster Council are being consistent around the financial arguments, you can follow that logically in a lot of directions.

“At the end of the day, it is not all about finance either. It is about Cork have a home venue. In many ways, this is the last Munster championship as we know it. Next year’s Munster championship is going to be slightly different in the sense that there will be 16 teams for the Sam Maguire and they will play away for the Sam Maguire and teams will play for the Munster championship, as well.

“This is a very important Munster championship in that it is the last one as we know . We want to play it in our own backyard.”

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