Minor grade still an issue: Cork holding special convention on decoupling at U18

County board to debate motion before April, while clubs are to receive two free premium tickets for Sunday's game against Wexford
Minor grade still an issue: Cork holding special convention on decoupling at U18

A general view of Páirc Uí Chaoimh. Picture: INPHO/Ken Sutton

Cork County Board is to hold a special convention next month, where clubs will vote on whether or not to decouple adult and juvenile competitions at U18 level from 2024.

With no clear national consensus reached at last month’s annual Congress, the GAA’s Central Council have proposed three options for counties – to continue with minor at U17, with full decoupling; to have minor at U18 with players in their final year at minor allowed to play at adult level with permission from parents/guardians; or to have minor at U18 with full decoupling.

At last December’s annual county convention, Cork clubs voted to restore minor to U18 from 2024, with one-off U18 competitions to run alongside minor at U17 for 2023. Now, the county executive is seeking to make clear the lines of demarcation.

County chairperson Marc Sheehan informed Tuesday night’s monthly county board meeting at Páirc Uí Chaoimh that he was giving notice of motion for special convention, to take place immediately before the meeting of Tuesday, April 4.

The sole motion up for discussion, proposed by the executive, is that, from 2024, a player operating at adult level should have celebrated his 18th birthday the year before his involvement.

Freemount delegate John O’Flynn felt that the motion was out of order. “How can you actually do that,” he asked.

An 18-year-old is allowed to play adult level, there was a motion before Congress and it failed. 

"It’s my understanding that you can’t bring in a bye-law that’s in contravention of the main rules of the GAA. I’m gobsmacked that you’re still putting this forward.”


Donal Lyons (Brian Dillons) agreed with O’Flynn and suggested that the special convention be postponed until clarity was provided.

Cork’s Ard Chomhairle delegate Tracey Kennedy said that the Central Council meeting of March 25 would make the situation clearer but that the April 4 date should stand and the motion can always be withdrawn. County board secretary/CEO Kevin O’Donovan noted that Cork’s bye-laws don’t come into existence unless they are passed by the national bye-laws committee.

Meanwhile, each club in Cork will be granted two premium level tickets in Páirc Uí Chaoimh for Sunday’s Allianz Hurling League Division 1 Group A clash between Cork and Wexford.

Cork County Board secretary/CEO Kevin O'Donovan. Picture: Larry Cummins
Cork County Board secretary/CEO Kevin O'Donovan. Picture: Larry Cummins

Kevin O’Donovan informed delegates that sales of the premium tickets would soon reach 1,500, of a capacity of 2,100.

The initial offering of the tickets, priced at €6,500, generated approximately 850 sales before “stalling due to Covid and the market being maxed out,” O’Donovan said.

“We came back last year with a tiered pricing model and offers to clubs, that brought the figure up to about 1,150.

“There was another kick in the past month and we’re now just about to pass the 1,500 mark, roughly three quarters. Effectively, they’re the ‘middle three quarters’ and the remaining seats are now available at €5,500 or €4,500. That’s €550 or €450 per annum and, when you consider that that includes the season ticket for all club championship games, valued at €150, you’re getting a premium seat for €350 a year. You won’t be sitting on the halfway line, but it's still a good deal.”


To give sales another boost, each club in the county will have the option of taking up two seats for Sunday’s league game, which is preceded by an U20 challenge match between the two counties.

“Surely there’s one person in every club who’d be interested in buying one of these tickets,” O’Donovan said.

We’ve found that when we have offered sample days like this, there’s about a 90% conversion rate.”

In his Munster Council report, Michael Byrne said that there had been discussion around the naming of the province’s senior football trophy but that the matter had been deferred to a later date for further debate. In 2021, a trophy named after Limerick great Mick Mackey was inaugurated for the senior hurling championship.

Earlier on Tuesday, Munster GAA had announced that six provincial senior hurling and football championships would be double-headers, five hurling/camogie dates and the pairing of the senior football championship final with the senior ladies’ football final.

Cork’s Munster SHC opener at home to Waterford on Sunday, April 30 will be preceded by a Munster Senior Camogie Championship meeting between the same counties, while the previous night will see Limerick-Clare camogie and hurling meetings twinned.

The winners of the Cork-Waterford camogie game will play Tipperary on Saturday, May 6, immediately before the Cork v Tipperary Munster SHC game.

On Saturday, May 13, the Munster Senior Camogie Championship final will take place in FBS Semple Stadium prior to the meeting of Waterford and Clare.

A week later, on Sunday, May 21, the Munster intermediate camogie final will precede the Clare-Cork hurling game in Ennis.

The football finals double-header is on Sunday, May 7, with Cork and Kerry already confirmed as the ladies’ football finalists.

Kevin O’Donovan also told the meeting the Cork v Derry game in the Allianz Football League Division 2 on Sunday, March 26 will be paired with the Very Camogie League Division 1A clash between Cork and Galway.

Meanwhile, former Cork footballer Ronan O’Toole has applied for a transfer to Australia from Éire Óg, while Australia is also the destination for Clonakilty’s Gearóid Barry.

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