Sunday 17 December 2017

It's lights, camera, action for Croker replay showdown

Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

THE Croke Park floodlights will be switched on before the start of this evening's Clare versus Cork All-Ireland hurling final replay.

Throw-in is at 5.0 and with sunset at 7.08, the lights will not be required if it's a bright evening. However, they will be needed if it's cloudy, so the switch-on will take place well in advance of throw-in.

The lights were switched on for the first half of the 2011 Kilkenny-Tipperary All-Ireland hurling final after dark clouds rolled in during early afternoon. They were turned off at half-time when the sky brightened.

"It all went well and we got no reaction from the players. Once the light is consistent, players are happy," said Peter McKenna, Croke Park stadium director.

Meanwhile, as the countdown continues to the second successive All-Ireland hurling final replay, both Cork and Clare are being quoted at 11/10 to win the game.

Cork were marginal favourites for the drawn encounter but Clare's excellent performance, which saw them lead for most of the way before having to snatch a late point to earn a replay, has left the market split on where the Liam MacCarthy Cup will spend the winter.

It is expected that there will be an update on the situation at the monthly county board meeting next Tuesday.

Former county centre-back star Glenn Ryan, who has just finished managing Longford, has definitely ruled himself out of the job.

Meanwhile, footballers from Munster's so-called weaker counties are taking the weekend to gauge the temperature of all of their team-mates before deciding their next step in the province's championship seeding controversy.

Players in Clare, Limerick, Tipperary and Waterford are furious that Munster Council is sticking with its decision to seed the draw next season.

Two player representatives from each of those teams met initially last week and, following Munster Council's mid-week refusal to re-visit the matter, there is speculation that a player boycott could occur.

Feelings are running high among some players, but they want to canvass opinion from everyone on their county squads now to see if there is consensus on their next move.

All of the 2014 Championship draws are due to take place next Thursday (live on RTE television at 7.0) and will go ahead regardless.


Clare and Cork have already drawn in league and championship this year, a result which is now priced at 9/1. Extra-time will be played in the event of a draw.

It's the first time that Clare are involved in an All-Ireland final replay, while Cork were successful in their last replayed decider, having beaten Kilkenny in 1931.

Westmeath's James McGrath will set a refereeing record by taking charge of a second All-Ireland final replay, having also officiated at the Galway-Kilkenny clash last year.

Star sprinter Lethal Force, winner of two Group Ones this season, has been retired to Cheveley Park Stud.

Cheveley bought a share of the Clive Cox-trained four-year-old earlier this month, with the intention being that he would retire at the end of the season.

That decision has now been made, with Cox paying tribute to a horse that gave him top-level success in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot and in the Darley July Cup at Newmarket, both times under Adam Kirby.

Irish Independent

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