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Diarmuid O'Sullivan says Páirc Uí Chaoimh saga heaps more unwanted attention on Cork GAA

The hurling great admitted the latest headlines regarding the state of the pitch have not been good for the county.

CORK HURLING GREAT Diarmuid O’Sullivan says the controversy surrounding the state of the pitch at Páirc Uí Chaoimh has heaped more unwanted attention on Cork GAA.

Today, a statement released by the GAA on behalf of Coiste Contae Chorcaí confirmed that Cork’s upcoming league clash with Clare on 16 February will take place at Páirc Uí Rinn.

This is due to the pitch ripping up under the feet of the players during Sunday’s Allianz National Hurling League match between Cork and Wexford.

Darren Byrne and Aidan Walsh The condition of the pitch was described as unacceptable in a statement on Monday. Source: Ken Sutton/INPHO

The statement said that the pitch’s condition was “unacceptable” adding that a pitch replacement would likely to be required later this year.

Speaking today in his column with Paddy Power, O’Sullivan admitted the latest headlines surrounding the pitch were “very disappointing from a Cork perspective”.

He said: “The whole saga now seems to be one thing after another for Cork GAA. There are underlying issues there too.

Playing the football before certainly didn’t help it and in hindsight, if they had their chance over again they might have put the hurling on first.

“But then again, most people would have probably got up and left after the hurling then, they wouldn’t have stayed for the football.

“It’s very disappointing from a Cork perspective.

The issue with the field has been there quite some time, under the south stand the pitch is not getting direct sunlight at this time of year. The ground isn’t getting the chance to dry out.”

He continued: “No player wants to play on that, be it a club player or an inter-county lad. You can’t express yourself and it’s going to slow you down.

It’s adding fuel to the fire of the already muddy waters and it’s not what anyone wants. The sooner it’s done and dusted the better.”

A general view of Pairc Ui Rinn Páirc Uí Rinn will now host Cork's upcoming Allianz National Hurling League clash against Clare. Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

O’Sullivan reasoned that the game going ahead at Páirc Uí Rinn would guarantee a better atmosphere for the players and those attending, but a quick return to Pairc Ui Chaoimh would be more beneficial to the team.

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“It would probably make more commercial sense for the Cork County Board to have it in Pairc Ui Rinn because you’ll get a better crowd and atmosphere at it.

“The team might prefer it too than going down to Páirc Uí Chaoimh and only getting 6,000 spectators. Even if there was only 6,000 at it, you’d still have a better atmosphere in Páirc Uí Rinn.”

He added: “However, Cork are ultimately going to be playing Munster Championship games in Páirc Uí Chaoimh, that’s where they need to be playing to get used to the conditions for their round-robin Championship games.

Cork need to be playing in the ‘Páirc’ for me. You have to look at the bigger picture. If the chance is there to play in Páirc Uí Chaoimh – regardless of the surface – it’s game practice in your home ground and you can never have enough of it.”

The three-time All Ireland winner explained that performances and results on the pitch were the only antidote for the negativity surrounding the team.

This turbulence inside of Pairc Ui Chaoimh has rocked the boat a small bit. A couple of results from our senior hurlers and footballers would sway things back the right way again.

“What’s happening off the field will have no reflection on what’s happening on the training field or the match day. The squad isn’t aware of what is going on inside of the boardroom.

It does feed into the negativity of guys going to matches though, they feel these poor results are because of what’s going on higher up.

“You’ll hear talk that the financial situation in Cork is affecting the players, people will be asking every single question you can think of going forward from now on.

But, I can guarantee the teams are being catered for as well as they’ve ever been. So it’s only people looking to chip away and have a moan at.”

O’Sullivan is as a Paddy Power GAA Ambassador and columnist with Paddy Power News

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