Cork GAA clubs to vote on revamp of intermediate and junior hurling and football grades

Three options have been put forward to clubs to decide how teams to represent Cork in the Munster championships are picked
Cork GAA clubs to vote on revamp of intermediate and junior hurling and football grades

St Ita's Seamus Harnedy evades a challenge from Joe Ryan of Erin's Own during the 2021 East Cork JAHC final in Dungourney. Picture: Howard Crowdy

THE Cork County Board will take a vote on February 1 on the future of the club junior and intermediate championships to allow Rebel representatives to move on to the Munster series next winter. 

Ballygiblin and Boherbue were the Cork junior A winners in hurling and football in 2021, with Ballgiblin capturing a provincial title. In Cork, the eight divisions run off their own competitions, aside from Beara in hurling, before a county section determines the overall champions.

Under the split-season format in use for this year, the divisions would need to have their championships completed by early September to facilitate the deadline for Munster. That wouldn't be workable due to players involved with Corks teams, like Seamus Harnedy, who helped St Ita's to a first Imokilly crown last year.

An open webinar and Q&A will take place on Tuesday next, at 7.30pm, to look at the three options that will be voted on the following week. 

Option A: The fourth grade, Intermediate A, would be renamed as Premier Junior with the winners representing Cork in Munster.

Option B: The fifth grade, Lower Intermediate, would be renamed as Premier Junior with the winners representing Cork in Munster.

Option C: The 'status quo', which will require knockout junior championships and midweek games.

The vote will be by proportional representation with clubs voting in order of their preferred choices.

Jerry O'Connor, Boherbue, scores from the penalty spot against Ballinhassig's  Arthur O'Leary in last year's JAFC final. Picture: Larry Cummins. 
Jerry O'Connor, Boherbue, scores from the penalty spot against Ballinhassig's  Arthur O'Leary in last year's JAFC final. Picture: Larry Cummins. 

A statement from the Cork County Board explained they looked at numerous alternatives at a recent meeting of divisional stakeholders.

"Consideration was given to nominated panels of 15 being named by senior and intermediate clubs, thus allowing junior competitions to start earlier, by perhaps three to four weeks. However, this was not considered. 

"With just 15 named players ruled out, it would give a distinct disadvantage to second teams of clubs. Also, it would not assist divisions where inter-county players lined out for junior clubs. 

"In the course of the meeting another proposal (Option A) was put forward. Under this model, the lowest intermediate grade in each code would be renamed as Premier Junior and the winners of that 12-team competition would represent Cork in the Munster Junior Championship annually. 

"The full calendar year could then be allocated to Junior A championships for the divisional and subsequent county stages.

"If approved, Intermediate A Football and Lower Intermediate Hurling would be immediately renamed as Premier Junior A Football and Premier Junior A Hurling and the winners would proceed to Munster Junior championships. 

"Then, in 2023, the hurling competition would discontinue (as previously approved) and the IAHC would be renamed as Premier Junior A Hurling. Ultimately, there would be four grades under the County Board: Premier Senior (12 teams), Senior A (12), Intermediate (12), and Premier Junior (16 teams).

"For example, in 2023, these 12 teams would be in Premier Junior Hurling: Sarsfields, Aghada, Cloughduv, Aghabullogue, Mayfield, Midleton, Blackrock, Douglas, Dungourney, Kildorrery, Lisgoold, Meelin, along with four of the following, with the remainder would play Junior A in the divisions: Kilbrittain, Glen Rovers, Ballygarvan, Tracton, Argideen Rangers, Milford, Ballygiblin, Barryroe, Dripsey, St Finbarr’s, St Catherine’s, Russell Rovers.

"For example, in 2023, the following teams would be in Premier Junior Football: Mitchelstown, St Nick’s, Kilshannig, Aghabullogue Glanworth, Millstreet, Dromtarriffe, Ballydesmond, Adrigole, Boherbue, Gabriel Rangers, Ballinora, Glanmire, Glenville, Kildorrery, St Finbarr’s.

"An alternative proposal (Option B, with Lower Intermediate, renamed as Premier Junior) has subsequently been brought forward. Again, the lowest intermediate grade would be renamed Premier Junior, but would be the fifth grade. 

"LIHC would be retained and renamed as Premier Junior Hurling, while in football a new fifth grade of football, with 12 teams, would be added as Premier Junior Football. 

"This grade of 12 would be formed by the bottom four teams in Intermediate A football after the 2022 championship, along with the eight divisional winners. It would also address this issue of Urhan having no championship games in their division as they would automatically deemed Beara winners. 

"Ultimately, there would be five grades under the county board, Premier Senior (12 teams), Senior A (12 teams), Premier Intermediate (12 teams), Intermediate A (12 teams) and Premier Junior (12 teams).

"For example, in 2022, the following 12 teams would be in Premier Junior Hurling: Kilbrittain, Glen Rovers, Ballygarvan, Tracton, Argideen Rangers, Milford, Ballygiblin, Barryroe, Dripsey, St Finbarr’s, St Catherine’s, Russell Rovers. 

"In 2023, Premier Junior Football would be comprised of four current Intermediate A teams along with the eight divisional winners from 2022. In 2022, Junior A football would take priority in the divisions so that the divisional winners could complete the county stages in time for this year’s deadline. 

"The fifth-grade winners, which currently LIHC and would be renamed as Premier Junior, would represent Cork in Junior Hurling in 2022."

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