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Extra-time in All-Ireland semi-finals, club concerns, Liam Miller match and stepping down in Cork

Long-serving Cork board secretary Frank Murphy has written his annual report for the last time.

OUTGOING CORK COUNTY board secretary Frank Murphy believes drawn All-Ireland semi-finals should go to a replay rather than have extra-time played ‘in fairness to players’.

Frank Murphy Long-serving Cork county board secretary Frank Murphy is stepping down. Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

Murphy has made his remarks in his last report to Cork’s annual county convention, which will take place next Saturday, as he prepares to step down after 46 years in his current post.

While congratulating Liam MacCarthy Cup winners Limerick, who defeated Cork after an epic clash at the semi-final stage in July, Murphy wants to see the playing of extra-time in these games reviewed.

A motion from the St Ita’s club, the home of Cork captain Seamus Harnedy, to the convention in Cork is seeking to make this change and is passed there, it will go forward to GAA Congress in Wexford next February.

“The game was an intensely high scoring contest from beginning to end,” writes Murphy in relation to that Cork and Limerick match.

“Limerick led at the interval by a one point margin. Cork gained good control in the second period and led by six points with a few minutes plus injury time remaining. Limerick fought back to take the lead but a long range point from Patrick Horgan sent the game into extra-time.

Pat Horgan Patrick Horgan won an All-Star for Cork in 2018. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

“Injury problems played a crucial role in the extra-time period and Limerick forged a four-point winning margin. A drawn All-Ireland senior semi-Final deserves, as heretofore, to go to a replay in fairness to players.

“The publicity and financial benefits to the association should also be factors of consideration. This decision should be reviewed as soon as is possible.

“We congratulate Limerick on their victory and going on to achieve All-Ireland glory. Our team have performed tremendously well over the past two championships but it will be important to build on the strength of the panel. The excellent team management under John Meyler have set this task as an early objective.”

John Meyler shakes hands with John Kiely after the game John Kiely and John Meyler shake hands after their Croke Park clash. Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

While acknowledging the success of the new round-robin format in hurling, Murphy has questioned the impact it has having on the club scene.

“While the new format of the provincial senior hurling championship was highly successful it must be asked at what expense? It seriously impacted on the club championship scheduling in this county. It was impossible to fit in a number of rounds of the championships between inter-county fixtures.

“Even though the month of May was utilised for first round county championship games, the knock-out rounds were played in too compact a period. While many counties had no difficulty in the past year or in previous years in delaying the progress of their county championships, this is not a reasonable position in this county given the number of clubs and the extensive dual involvement of clubs and players.

“Some defeats of dual clubs allowed the main championships to be concluded on schedule. However some club players had to play up to eight successive weeks and this undoubtedly took its toll in performance levels.

“We are told that this is a problem that we must ourselves resolve by either eliminating the second chance for teams defeated in the first rounds or by reducing the number of teams competing or dividing competitions.

Jerry O'Sullivan presents the trophy to Seamus Harnedy Seamus Harnedy captained Cork to this year's Munster hurling title win. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

“Put quite simply there has been greater consideration given to the expansion of inter-county formats and at the expense of a reasonable club championship schedule in a county the size and duality of ours.

“While the 2019 championships will be run on the same format, it is essential to make early plans for the following years. The status of the championships must be maintained and it must be borne in mind that they provide the main source of income for the county committee and there is no room for impairment in this regard if the board is to have the revenue to run its affairs.

“A previous experiment to run the initial stages of the championship on a league basis proved disastrous in terms of status and attendances and it took some years to recover from that experiment.”

Murphy also referenced the Liam Miller Tribute Match which was staged in Páirc Uí Chaoimh in September, an event that had sparked controversy after the Cork venue was initially not available to be used.

The teams observe a minute's silence The teams observed a minute's silence before the Liam Miller Tribute game in September. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

“It (Páirc Uí Chaoimh) also staged the Liam Miller Tribute involving Liam’s former club colleagues. This game was authorised by our Central Council on its interpretation that the basis of the application did not conflict with the association’s rules governing the use of its grounds. It is pleasing that the event was a great success and benefited a number of deserving causes.”

Finally Murphy paid tribute to a number of people who had closely alongside him during his tenure and wished his successor Kevin O’Donovan well.

“I retire as county secretary at this convention after 46 years in office. It has been a great honour and privilege to have served this great county in this prestigious position. I served with 16 county chairpersons and some long serving treasurers.

“Four served as chairmen of the Provincial Council and two had the honour of becoming Presidents of the association. All were outstanding persons in their own right and good friends.

Jimmy Barry-Murphy celebrates Frank Murphy Frank Murphy celebrating Cork's 2013 All-Ireland semi-final victory over Dublin with Jimmy Barry-Murphy. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

“To all the officers and members of the county committees, divisional boards, Coiste na nÓg, players, team managements, referees, sponsors and supporters down the years, I say a sincere thank you. In a particular way I remember those who have left us. Dia trócaire orthu.

“While I thank all the personnel who have served in the county committee’s office during my time, it is particularly appropriate that generous tribute be paid to two ladies, namely Mairéad McCarthy and Barbara Hartnett. These ladies have given distinguished and unparalleled service. 

“Their extraordinary commitment was always to the fore and I will personally be eternally grateful to them for their vast contribution, loyalty and friendship.

“I appreciated too the immense opportunity that was afforded me to work in various capacities at provincial and national levels – areas that provided great experience and many enduring friendships.

“Caoimhín Ó Donnabháin of Kilmeen and Kilbree has been chosen as our new Rúnaí/CEO.

“I warmly congratulate Kevin on his appointment and wish him an abundance of happiness, job satisfaction and success.

“He will be his ‘own man’ but any assistance or advice that he may require from me as he settles in to this onerous position will be readily available. May the Gaelic Athletic Association in this proud county advance and prosper under your leadership. Go raibh fada buan thú a Chaoimhín.”

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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