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GAA President unfazed by missed Páirc Uí Chaoimh deadline, Special Congress to discuss hurling plans

Aogán Ó Fearghaíl is looking forward to the All-Ireland hurling quarter-finals at the revamped Cork venue on 23 July.

Image: Gary Carr/INPHO

GAA PRESIDENT AOGÁN Ó Fearghaíl insists that he’s not concerned by the missed deadline that has seen the revamped Páirc Uí Chaoimh miss out on hosting the Munster senior football and hurling finals.

With the redeveloped stadium not yet ready to host top inter-county games, the football decider between Cork and Kerry will take place instead on 2 July at Fitzgerald Stadium in Killarney, while Semple Stadium in Thurles will host the hurling final between Cork and Clare a week later.

But at last Saturday’s Central Council meeting, it was recommended that Páirc Uí Chaoimh will stage the All-Ireland senior hurling quarter-finals on 23 July, two games that will officially christen the multi-million euro venue in an inter-county sense.

When asked if he was disappointed that Páirc Uí Chaoimh was not ready for the provincial deciders, Ó Fearghaíl delivered an emphatic response.

Speaking to RTÉ Radio 1′s Morning Ireland, he said: “No, not at all. Patron safety is paramount.

Aogán Ó Fearghail GAA President Aogán Ó Fearghaíl. Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

“If there were safety concerns at all, even if they were minor, it’s always important that we err on that side.

“We took a very important decision at Central Council on Saturday that, this year, we’re advising the CCC that they hold the (All-Ireland) quarter-finals in Páirc Uí Chaoimh on 23 July.

“We’re assured that safety concerns will be met by that stage. It will be a wonderful spectacle, I’ve no doubt, a packed occasion on 23 July by the banks of the Lee will provide an ideal backdrop for the official opening of the stadium. It will be a positive summer for Cork.”

Source: Gary Carr/INPHO

Ó Fearghaíl also confirmed that a Special Congress will take place later this year, most likely in late September or early October, to discuss the new hurling championship proposals.

Ó Fearghaíl explained that there was widespread approval for the new plans at Saturday’s gathering but that some counties want the opportunity to suggest some “tweaks.”

“It’s not something we do very often (Special Congress) – it’s ten years since we did this before.

“There are proposals there which have been drafted following consultation by many groups and bodies, drafted by the CCC.

Most of the delegates said there’s huge merit in there. They liked most of what’s there but they want an opportunity to tweak some of the proposals.”

And Ó Fearghaíl explained that the hurling reforms will be fast-tracked to have them in line with the football changes that will come into effect next year.

It’s felt that if we’re going to have a reform for hurling, it’s going to coincide with football.

“We will have a three-year period from 2018 where we have reformed hurling and football championships.”

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