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Cork manager hits out at Longford for 'appalling' decision that creates 'dangerous precedent'

Ronan McCarthy is unhappy that last Sunday’s Division 3 fixture did not take place.

Cork football boss Ronan McCarthy.
Cork football boss Ronan McCarthy.
Image: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

CORK MANAGER RONAN McCarthy has described as ‘appalling’ Longford’s decision to hand out a walkover for last Sunday’s Division 3 football league game and believes it ‘is massively dangerous’ in terms of creating a precedent.

Cork were due to travel to face Longford in the Round 7 fixture and while McCarthy’s side were already assured of promotion, he was eager to play the match.

The Cork boss has sympathy for Derry who lost out in the promotion race to Down and believes not playing the game brought the league into disrepute.

“I think Longford’s decision brought the league into disrepute. I think that you finish the competition. We were the team that were doing the travelling, I’m not aware of any Covid issues that they had. As I understand it they just didn’t want to play the game. I think it’s an appalling way to finish the competition, that had ramifications for other teams.

“I think it’s massively dangerous, I really do. You finish the competition out and it finishes at the end and we all end up at various times playing games that in essence they’re dead rubbers.

“But this actually wasn’t and the fact that Louth beat Down and the fact that Derry beat Offaly meant that Longford would have had a big impact there on Derry’s promotion chances. So I think it was an appalling decision that was made for no other reason than they just didn’t want to play the game.

“The impact for us is minimal from the point of view of the game but certainly I would think if I was in Derry’s shoes I’d be rather annoyed. So I’d have been disappointed that the game didn’t go ahead, I’d have been disappointed with the way it was called off. I don’t see how Longford, Padraic Davis had the right to unilaterally decide they weren’t going to fulfil the fixture but it’s done now and we move on.”

a-general-view-of-glennon-brothers-pearse-park Glennon Brothers Pearse Park was due to host the game. Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

McCarthy cited the example of Fermanagh, whose preparations in Division 2 had been hit hard by Covid-19 cases, as a team who showed respect for the league.

“But I think when you look at Fermanagh for example, who went to Clare the previous week with Covid issues in their group and fulfilled the fixture. Fermanagh, who played Laois on Saturday with nothing riding on the game, they were relegated and yet gave themselves every chance to try and win it. I think that’s how you respect a competition and I don’t think Longford did that.

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“We had planned to go up early on the Saturday. The fact that we had qualified meant that we could get a bit of work done on the Saturday, tactical, technical stuff in advance of the game on Sunday. I’d said after the Louth match that we were going to take the game seriously, we were going to try and respect the competition and put out a strong team.

“Going forward it’s a very dangerous precedent to set. Fermanagh should be applauded and lauded for the efforts that they made in both their fixtures in very difficult circumstances. At the end of the day, it’s about the integrity of the competition, the integrity of sport. The decision, I’d almost call it anti-sport really but it’s done now.”

Cork are preparing for a Munster semi-final against Kerry on Sunday 8 November with Sean Powter and Brian Hurley their main fitness concerns ahead of the game. They are already planning without Liam O’Donovan, Thomas Clancy, Ciaran Sheehan and Kevin Crowley through injury.

“I suppose we’ve a few people like Powter, Brian Hurley, people like that who can I tell you today that they’ll definitely make the Kerry game? I can’t, but they’re on the way back, we’ll give them every chance right up to the middle of next week but we’ve no one new to add to the list of people who are definitely out.”

– Originally published at 17:19

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Fintan O'Toole

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