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Clare to keep home advantage if Kilkenny clash is postponed

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Clare manager Davy Fitzgerald

Clare manager Davy Fitzgerald

SPORTSFILE

Clare manager Davy Fitzgerald

Clare won't be forced to forfeit home advantage if Cusack Park is deemed unplayable for the All-Ireland champions' opening league match against reigning league champions Kilkenny on Sunday.

Clare GAA officials are confident they will be able to give the Ennis venue the green light to host the most eagerly awaited match of the first round of league action.

But with another storm bringing more heavy rain today and possibly tomorrow morning, it will cast fresh doubts over the match.

Clare will continue to monitor the pitch for a tie which is expected to attract up to 10,000 spectators if it goes ahead.

Last weekend's Division 4 football league match between Clare and Leitrim was moved out of Cusack Park and switched to Miltown Malbay but this may have been precautionary.

Cusack Park has not hosted a game since November and that improves its chances of being able to host the arrival of the league champions.

ALTERNATIVE

If Cusack Park is unplayable then the Clare County Board are obliged to provide a suitable alternative but Sixmilebridge, the likely second choice, would not be able to accommodate such a crowd.

Speculation that the match could go to the Gaelic Grounds in Limerick instead does not tie in with the plans of the Central Competition Controls Committee or the Clare County Board.

In the event of Cusack Park being deemed unplayable the match will be refixed for the next available date. Only if Cusack Park is deemed unplayable a second time would forfeiture of venue be an issue.

Meanwhile Kilkenny are counting the cost of storm damage to the roof of the old stand in Nowlan Park. Parts of the roof containing asbestos blew off causing disruption in the area.

The damage was being assessed by experts yesterday with speculation over whether Sunday week's clash between Kilkenny and Tipperary, scheduled to be played there, will go ahead at the venue.

Kilkenny met Tipperary at Nowlan Park in last year's championship qualifiers and the league final. The championship game was a 23,000 sell-out and the league final was only marginally below that. While a routine league match would not draw the same crowd, health and safety issues would have to be explored before the game gets the green light.

* Former Wexford All-Ireland winning manager Liam Griffin has told Cork bosses Jimmy Barry-Murphy and Brian Cuthbert that their planned dual experiment is unworkable.

Griffin, who guided the Slaneysiders to All-Ireland SHC glory in 1996, suspects that Cork will experience problems as Eoin Cadogan, Aidan Walsh and Damien Cahalane attempt to juggle dual senior inter-county hurling and football this year. Griffin referenced Wexford player Lee Chin, who has discarded football to play hurling exclusively this year.

He explained: "I don't think it's sustainable what he (Chin) was trying to do last year. It sounds nice but it doesn't work."

Irish Independent