Saturday 23 September 2017

Money talks as Munster seek to keep Kerry and Cork apart until final

GAELIC GAMES Martin Breheny

MUNSTER counties risk a sizeable drop in income unless they agree to seed the senior football draw to ensure that Cork and Kerry are kept apart until the final.

Munster Council chairman Sean Walsh said that, while it was up to each of the six counties to decide, the reality was that the open draw led to a heavy financial downturn in years when Cork and Kerry have met in the earlier rounds.

"You can't prepare a proper budget if it's dependent on the championship draw. We can't continue paying out the amounts we are, unless the income is there to support it. In relation to Kerry and Cork, there's a massive difference between them playing in a Munster semi-final and final.

"Last year, we had 41,000 at the Kerry-Cork final in Killarney and 23,000 at the semi-final in Pairc Ui Chaoimh this year. Tickets are dearer for finals, so between that and the bigger crowd, there's a big decrease in income in a year when Cork and Kerry meet early on.

"They met in the semi-final this year, but you could have a situation where they might meet in the first round in May, which would further impact on the attendance," said Walsh.

The Munster chairman is not formally proposing a return to the seeded draw, but wants counties to reflect on what's best overall.

Cork will meet Clare in this year's final for the first time since 1949.

The open draw was first introduced in Munster in 1991.

The seeded draw was voted back in (8-7) for the 2008 championship before reverting to the open draw.

Clare, Limerick, Tipperary and Waterford have argued that the seeded draw worked against them as they would have to beat Cork and Kerry to win the title.

"I understand that viewpoint, but me must at least consider if the present system is working in the best overall interests of Munster. There are nine counties competing in Leinster hurling, yet the champions are seeded through to the semi-finals," said Walsh.

Irish Independent

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