Sunday 18 February 2018

Deise hand Cork home advantage for potential Munster final

Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Cork may not have to step outside their own backyard to win a Munster hurling title after Waterford's surprise decision to agree to play them in a potential provincial final at Pairc Ui Chaoimh.

The Munster Competition Control Committee met in the aftermath of Cork's 10-point victory over Tipperary in the 'Pairc' on Sunday, when Waterford made it known that, if they were to beat Clare in next Monday's first semi-final and the Rebels were to follow up with an expected home victory over Limerick in the other semi, the Deise would travel to Cork.

It is a brave decision by Waterford, who have traditionally met Cork in Thurles and have a decent record against the Rebels there. There is no obligation for them to play a provincial final at an opponent's home venue once they are not committed to a home-and-away arrangement.

Waterford officials were trying to downplay the decision yesterday, given the impression it might leave with Clare. Waterford chairman Tom Cunningham did not want to comment on the move.

"We haven't reached a Munster final. It's not something we can discuss," he said.

However, it is common practice for the Munster Council to put together all permutations for logistical purposes at this point of the season, and preparing for final venues is an important consideration. Munster Council PRO Jim Forbes confirmed that the decision regarding a Cork/ Waterford final had been made.

"It's not a home-and-away arrangement because Waterford wouldn't have the capacity at Walsh Park to accommodate a game.

"Waterford volunteered this. It certainly came as a surprise to us -- out of the blue really," said Forbes.

Forbes explained that all possible permutations were discussed and that some counties had home-and-away arrangements, but not all.

"In football there is home and away," he said.

"Between Cork and Tipperary, Cork and Limerick, and Tipperary and Limerick there is home and away in hurling. But games involving Clare and Waterford in hurling can't be part of such an agreement because of capacity issues."

Forbes added that if Pairc Ui Chaoimh did get a Munster final between Cork and Waterford, it would be an unexpected boost to the local business community.

Irish Independent

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