'It'd be a missed opportunity' - Munster ladies final unlikely to be part of Páirc Uí Chaoimh double-header

Two Cork-Kerry deciders are on the agenda for Saturday 23 June.

Image: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

EX-CORK FOOTBALL star and current ladies football selector James Masters believes it will be ‘a missed opportunity’ if a double header of Cork-Kerry Munster football finals does not take place on Saturday 23 June.

The meeting of the teams managed by Eamonn Fitzmaurice and Ronan McCarthy is pencilled in for 7pm that evening in Páirc Uí Chaoimh.

But despite the ladies football decider also set to take place on the same day, it seems unlikely that it will be held in Páirc Uí Chaoimh with the minor football final between Kerry and Clare scheduled for 5pm and a triple-header of games likely to be ruled out by the Munster Council.

Masters has frequently called for the Cork ladies footballers, who won 11 All-Ireland senior titles between 2005 and 2016, to be given the opportunity to play in Páirc Uí Chaoimh.

Eight ladies football league games were played as part of double-headers with male counterparts this spring while the Munster semi-final between Kerry and Waterford was a curtain-raiser on Sunday to Kerry’s comprehensive provincial last four win over Clare.

“Obviously we would love Páirc Uí Chaoimh but I think their hands are tied with the Munster Council as they won’t allow three games in the same day,” says Masters.

“It’d be a missed opportunity. There’s been a lot of talk about double-headers of late.  You look at Dublin, they have gone above and beyond with games in Croke Park. We got to experience that earlier in the year in the league against them and it was great.

“As far as we know at the moment, it’s not a runner and there’s talk our game could be in Páirc Uí Rinn. I know Tracey Kennedy in the county board is very keen to see our games played in Páirc Uí Chaoimh, she’s very proactive.

“But I know there’s a bigger picture and if it doesn’t happen, I hope it’s something that will happen soon. I’d be saying the same if it ended up Tipperary and Waterford contesting this final. When the dates came out at the start of the season, the two final dates were in for the same weekend.

“Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to take away from the minor game. I played years ago in a Munster minor final and it was a great occasion before a senior game.

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“But going with equality, and looking how much effort is put in, it’s a real pity that some great players for Cork who have had such decorated careers, haven’t set foot in Páirc Uí Chaoimh.”

Ciara O'Sullivan raises the trophy in the air as the team celebrates Cork captain Ciara O'Sullivan after their 2016 All-Ireland ladies final victory. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

If the Cork-Kerry Munster ladies final does take place on 23 June, Masters hopes that there will be some joined-up thinking to provide a ticket package to attract fans to both games.

“I’d love to see the LGFA and GAA come together so that say if you buy an LGFA ticket for the match in the afternoon and say it’s in Páirc Uí Rinn, you could go half a mile down the road that evening to the Cork-Kerry game and get some sort of concession.

“Some kind of a deal would be great. That’s my personal view. It’d be great if we could attract a crowd to our game. A throw-in time of 5pm would be great and then it’s just a short walk to Páirc Uí Chaoimh after.

“At least by having it in Páirc Uí Rinn, I think it’d be brilliant in creating an atmosphere and drawing a crowd rather than say having the next day in Mallow.”

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