Cork County Board: Rebel teams won't be forced out of Páirc by future concerts

Club championships won't be brought forward even if Cork teams exit early
Cork County Board: Rebel teams won't be forced out of Páirc by future concerts

An aerial view of Páirc Uí Chaoimh and the River Lee as Ed Sheeran kicked off the first of two Mathematics Tour gigs in Cork. Picture: Cian O'Regan

Cork County Board chairperson Marc Sheehan has confirmed that future scheduling conflicts at Páirc Uí Chaoimh between concerts and senior inter-county matches will be avoided.

The Munster SHC game against Clare and the football clash against Kerry earlier this month had to be played in Thurles and Páirc Uí Rinn respectively due to Ed Sheeran playing two concerts at the venue. However, Sheehan made clear at Tuesday night’s monthly county board meeting at the Páirc that, from now on, matches will take priority.

“Obviously, concerts are very much part of the calendar,” he said, “but we will be ensuring that the scheduling won’t be in conflict with senior inter-county teams and championship dates.

“It’s important to clarify that and put it on record here tonight. There were particular circumstances around the Ed Sheeran concerts, we’re familiar with that narrative and I’m not going to repeat it again tonight.” 

At the meeting, it was also reiterated by vice-chairperson Pat Horgan that the club championship fixture programme will not be brought forward, even if the Cork teams finish their campaigns early. The senior and intermediate championships are due to begin on the weekend of July 22-24 and that will stand.

“The inter-county programme may not go as far as we would like,” Horgan said, “but the CCC [competitions control committee] will not be adjusting the championship programme as was outlined.

We’ve had lots of queries but what you have in the championship programme is what we’re sticking with.” 

The topic of cashless entry to games was also something that generated debate. Marc Sheehan said that the board was reaffirming its online ticketing policy but that the possibility of selling tickets in supermarkets from quarter-final stages onwards was being explored. In addition, there will be booths with card facilities for games at Páirc Uí Chaoimh and Páirc Uí Rinn.

REGRESSIVE

This raised the ire of Bride Rovers delegate John Arnold, who called the move “regressive” as it disenfranchised potential spectators who may not be able to purchase tickets electronically. He reminded the executive that, last year, the hope of having a cash booth at games was expressed. 

“People say we’re old-fashioned,” Arnold said. “Maybe our problem is that we’re throwing away everything that’s traditional.” 

County secretary Kevin O’Donovan noted that takings remained healthy, even with the move away from cash.

“Our gates bring in over a million euro,” he said, “they went to records last year.

“We might disenfranchise some people, we certainly didn’t disenfranchise thousands.

“There is also a generation that doesn’t have cash in their pockets. We’re making an effort to embrace the technology available in an efficient manner, but also reaching out to those to whom it’s not available.

“It’s not a crazy idea invented by someone in Croke Park. The world is moving and we have to move with it and bring people with us. I know, because I print off tickets for my uncle, who doesn’t have a smartphone.” 

Elsewhere, board safety and facilities officer Noel O’Callaghan informed the meeting that the ‘Mon field’, owned by the board and which had been in “bad repair for the last number of years”, is to be leased to St Vincent’s for four years and nine months for a nominal fee.

St Vincent’s will look after all caretaking and make grounds available to the board for underage games and training matches.

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