NA Piarsaigh are set to turn to three former Cork hurling captains – Mark Mullins, Seán Óg Óg hAilpín and John Gardiner – to guide their fortunes as they seek an immediate response to this year’s relegation.
Defeat to Charleville in a play-off in September meant that the northside club, county champions in 1990, 1995 and 2004, dropped to the Co-op SuperStores Cork Senior A Hurling Championship for 2023. It will be the first time since 1957 that they are no part of the top tier, but they have set about putting together a strong management team as they seek to regroup.
It is believed that Mark Mullins, the Cork captain in 1996, will be the team manager while Seán Óg Ó hAilpín, who led the county to its most recent All-Ireland title in 2005, will combine a coaching role with a similar posting in the Cork minor hurling set-up. John Gardiner, the Cork skipper in 2008 and 2009, is also part of the coaching group, having recently returned from the United States, where he had been based.
Meanwhile, West Cork club Clann na nGael have submitted a motion for next month’s annual Cork County Board convention seeking the return of U18 as the cut-off for the minor grade, but without full decouping from adult level.
Tyrone club Errigal Ciarán sponsored a motion on minor as U18 at GAA Congress earlier this year and, with 40 percent support for that prior to the decision to postpone any action pending further examination by a task force, they have contacted GAA units all over the country, players 17 and under would continue to play only at under-age levels.
The Errigal Ciarán communication reads, “the principle of a return to U18 competition at club level appears to be accepted by the working group, which is very pleasing.
“However, there is still a major gulf between the view of many clubs and the view of task force in respect of the issue of decoupling. The report recommends that decoupling at U18 must be included as part of a return to U18 grade.
“It is our view that Decoupling is too blunt an instrument and will lead to many unintended consequences for player development at that critical age.” Therefore, the solution put forward is for all players in their final year of minor (at U18) to also play at adult level.
Clann na nGael propose that rule 6.17 of part 1 of the GAA’s Official Guide be amended so that, at adult level, “A player shall have celebrated his 17th birthday prior to January 1 of the championship year.”
Then, with regard to under-age competitions: “A county shall determine its internal under-age grades for competition purposes within the parameter of under-21 down to under-11, subject to the stipulation that competitions at under-14, under-16 and under-18 must take place within each county together with one further underage competition above the under-18 grade.” The rest of the rule would remain unchanged.
The Drimoleague club’s motion would remove the wording “subject to Central Council policy”, therefore allowing each county to cater to its own needs, beyond the stipulation that competitions must take place at U14, U16 and U18 level. This would allow counties with larger populations to hold competitions at U13, U15 or U17, as required.
The only other club-sponsored motion comes from Ilen Rovers, who are proposing an alteration to Cork’s bye-law 33, which relates to transfers.
Currently, a player who is applying for a transfer to the ‘first club’ of his father will have that granted but Ilen are suggesting that it be deleted entirely.