Thursday 18 July 2019

'You have to think about the guys on the field and the 16,000 patrons' - Diarmuid O'Sullivan criticises handling of rain-hit Cork-Clare clash

Former Rebels star says 'a lot of people started to be crushed' as supporters took cover in stand at Cusack Park in Ennis

Diarmuid Ryan of Clare in action against Mark Coleman of Cork during a deluge of rain at the Munster GAA Hurling Senior Championship Round 5 match at Cusack Park in Ennis, Clare. Photo: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile
Diarmuid Ryan of Clare in action against Mark Coleman of Cork during a deluge of rain at the Munster GAA Hurling Senior Championship Round 5 match at Cusack Park in Ennis, Clare. Photo: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

Former Cork star Diarmuid O’Sullivan believes last weekend’s Munster Hurling Championship match between Clare and Cork in Ennis should have been halted for a period on safety grounds.

Clare saw off the Rebels 2-23 to 2-18 in thundery downpours at Cusack Park with O’Sullivan arguing that the monsoon-like conditions put players and fans at risk.

The 40-year-old former full-back added that the heavy thunder and lightning caused crushing in the terraces as fans, including kids, sought shelter.

"There's wet days and there's wet days," O’Sullivan told Paddy Power.

"So many questions can be raised about Sunday, like where does player welfare come into the equation? 

"Where does the welfare of the patrons come into the equation? Where was the welfare when people and children tried to get in under the covered terrace. A lot of people started to be crushed inside it. 

"It wasn't just a five, 10-second downpour, a flash or two of lightning and a clap of thunder. It was incessant. You have to think about the guys on the field and the 16,000 patrons who'd paid into the game.

"There was umbrellas up inside the terraces and my two young lads were inside that terrace.  What if someone's umbrella had been by lightning and diverted to a child for argument's sake? Who's responsible for it?

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"I know that these might sound dramatic or be bleak questions to answer, because it only happens once in a blue moon.

"But, I think there's further questions to be asked on the back of that. There wasn't significant stewarding either, but I believe the game should have been stopped for a while on safety grounds. It wasn't safe for players or patrons."

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