GAA fans in Cork who may not be able to easily access online tickets for upcoming county championship games will have the option of purchasing hard-copy tickets from their clubs.
The Bons Secours Hospital county football championships and Co-op SuperStores hurling competitions will begin on the weekends of July 22-24 and 29-31 respectively and, as has been the practice for the past two seasons, by and large electronic ticketing will be in force at all venues.
However, the issue of some supporters not being in a position to avail of such tickets has been brought up regularly at Cork County Board meetings and at Tuesday’s July meeting in Páirc Uí Chaoimh, it was revealed that some ‘hard tickets’ will be made available to clubs, who can then sell them to members and pass the proceeds to the board.
The meeting also saw the rubber-stamping of Pat Ryan as the new manager of the county senior hurling team, with no dissenting voices to the proposal from the county board executive, which had been publicised on Monday night.
County chairperson Marc Sheehan said that he thought that Sarsfields clubman Ryan – who guided the Riverstown outfit to county SHC wins in 2012 and 2014 and led Cork to the All-Ireland 20 titles of 2020 and 2021, would do an excellent job.
Ryan’s selectors have yet to be decided but Sheehan expressed the hope that that will happen soon. “We look forward to finalising the backroom team,” he said, “and we hope to have that finalised and ratified at the next county board meeting at the beginning of August.”
O’Donovan, in reflecting on a year where Cork won no hurling silverware, noted the contribution of outgoing manager Kieran Kingston.
“It is a hugely pressurised position and we all have our views on who should be playing where, but I think he represented the county really, really well,” he said.
“Onwards and upwards. We welcome Pat Ryan on board. We've all worked with Pat in the past on this board. His record speaks for itself and we'll be getting going with him soon.”
Former Cork hurler Damien Irwin, the Killeagh delegate, echoed those views.
“As a selector, coach, and manager, as a talent finder, as a launcher of teenage careers, and as a highly dignified man through all that, [Kieran Kingston] leaves us in a far better place than the teams he would have inherited back eight, nine, ten years ago,” he said.
“We played in three All-Ireland finals when he was involved. We had a disappointing day in Croke Park last year, but prior to that, we had a great day against Kilkenny. A lot of Cork teams have crashed into the Kilkenny bus over the years, but his didn't.
“Nobody would believe the hours he put into it over the years. He won't tell anyone about that either, he is not that kind of guy. As Kieran steps down now, I think Pat Ryan will be a hugely popular choice, as well. Another man of great integrity and dignity.”
Elsewhere, O’Donovan paid tribute to the O’Flynn Group, who had saved the county what he classed as “a small fortune” with regard to the plans to build housing on land on the northside of the city. An application for 319 units, the sale of which would service the Páirc Uí Chaoimh debt, has been lodged.
“Once planning comes through, hopefully, that will go for sale and it will make a big contribution to stadium debt, which we all want to clear as soon as possible,” O’Donovan said.
“I would have to acknowledge a huge voluntary contribution by the O'Flynn Group. Lest anyone get their wires crossed about O'Flynn Group's involvement in this project, their group are acting on a fully voluntary capacity bringing what is a greenfield into a fully formed designed planning application, with full drawings.
“The minute that is sold, then the O'Flynn Group will have no further involvement in the project. It is an incredible debt for them to pay us, to give us that service that would cost us a small fortune in terms of project designers and engineers and so on.
“It will be sold, hopefully, to another developer and reap a rich dividend for the county. We'd hope all of that will move in the next three to six months. There has been work on it for about 18 months to two years, and it has been brought to a very healthy state now.”