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Dublin: 20 °C Tuesday 16 July, 2019
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Horan: Cork Super 8s and hurling double-header at Croke Park this weekend not feasible

Cork footballers are in action on Saturday while their hurlers play on Sunday at the Drumcondra venue.

GAA PRESIDENT JOHN Horan says it’s unavoidable that Cork’s football and hurling teams are playing on separate days in Croke Park this weekend.

GAA Hurling All Ireland Senior Championship Series national launch John Horan speaking at the All-Ireland SHC series national launch at Mungret St Pauls GAA Club in Limerick. Source: Brendan Moran/SPORTSFILE

The Rebels are in All-Ireland SFC Super 8s action on Saturday night against Dublin, while their hurlers travel to Jones’ Road to face Kilkenny in the All-Ireland SHC quarter-final on Sunday afternoon.

Cork supporters were unhappy that both games were not played on the same day, but Horan says it wasn’t an option.

“It would have been more desirable if you could put them together,” he said yesterday at the GAA All Ireland hurling series national launch.

“But when you talk about the Cork supporters, the Cork football supporter will be a different cohort to the Cork hurling supporter. The guy that bridges both, these things are unfortunate.

“It is positive from a Cork point of view that they are doing so well but you just can’t fit everything in. If you were trying to put three fixtures on a Sunday, where would you put a Dublin-Cork game? Are you going to put it on at 12pm to get them all in? That’s the unfortunate thing.

“There will always be an appetite to have a game on a Saturday night and a Dublin game is generally on a Saturday night. And for the hurling supporter, the double-header of the hurling on a Sunday does fit in well together. Just to split it would have been a lot more difficult.”

Adrian Cole, Patrick Hurley, Joe Cole Charleville and Mick Ryan Cork fans. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Laois boss Eddie Brennan and Westmeath’s Joe Quaid were both critical of the hurling schedule which saw them forced into All-Ireland preliminary quarter-final action a week after the Joe McDonagh Cup final.

Brennan described it as “almost like a little slap-down” to have such a short turnaround after playing the showpiece game of their primary competition.

While Horan had sympathy for them, he said the tight scheduling makes it difficult to change that.

“The whole difficulty in that is the whole timing factor,” he said.

“The Joe McDonagh, the whole concept behind that was to get it high profile and get the final played before the Leinster final. So you are going to run it off that bit earlier, and how far out are you stretching out the whole season?

“You have to have a certain bit of sympathy for them in that this is the third week in a row they will be playing. I know there is a certain momentum to that but there is a fatigue, and you could see that in the game the last day, the last 10 minutes, there was a number of Laois lads going down, cramping.

“It is just so difficult, the complexity of people going from Joe McDonagh to jumping back into the Liam MacCarthy competition that how do you run one off and move it on to the other?

“It is not easy, no more than the six-day turnaround was always very difficult for the provincial teams. We are conscious of them, not saying we always have the solution to them.”

Eddie Brennan celebrates with Ross King after the game Eddie Brennan celebrates with Ross King after they beat Dublin. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

It emerged yesterday that the capacity of Fitzgerald Stadium in Killarney was reduced from 38,000 to around 32,000 for Sunday’s Super 8s tie between Kerry and Mayo.

Horan said that decision was out of the GAA’s hands.

“Unfortunately, I wouldn’t know the exact specifics but such is the hosting of matches in these venues, everyone is very conscious of the health and safety issues. And health and safety rules are not governed by us, but they are rules we have to deal with.

“Even when you look at Newbridge, and see the matches in Newbridge, there is an awful lot of spare capacity in the ground but the real problem there is the figures called access and egress and you have to match them. That creates the problem.

“And the other aspect is that a curtain-raiser actually allows you to have a bigger crowd from an access point of view but egress is the problem that was there in Newbridge, when you could see very clearly open spaces and you would say why can’t they have an extra 2,000 in the ground. 

“But look, we are governed by the rules of the land and that is where it ties in. It is not just a simplistic thing to say you could just put 38,000 people into that stadium, you have got the access, you have got the egress.” 

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Kevin O'Brien

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