Tuesday 23 January 2018

Waterford blame Cork facilities for switch plea

Pairc Ui Chaoimh
Pairc Ui Chaoimh

Jackie Cahill

WATERFORD County Board chairman Tom Cunningham has expressed disappointment with the Munster Council's refusal to move the July 15 provincial senior hurling final from Pairc Ui Chaoimh to Semple Stadium.

And Cunningham has confirmed that the unsuccessful Deise request to switch the game from Cork city to Thurles originated from the players.

The provincial showpiece was originally confirmed for Pairc Ui Chaoimh at a Competitions Control Committee meeting on June 7, but when Tipperary defeated Cork last Sunday to set up a second successive final against Waterford, the venue for the fixture was immediately called into question.

On his Twitter page, Waterford full-back Liam Lawlor led the campaign for change, stating: "We want to play in Thurles. Best field in the land -- let's hope common sense prevails."

Other Waterford players on the social networking site voiced their displeasure at the quality of the dressing-room facilities at the Cork venue, renowned for being extremely tight and cramped.

But their pleas -- and an official request from the Waterford County Board -- fell on deaf ears on Monday evening as a specially convened Munster Council CCC meeting voted by 8-2 in favour of reaffirming Pairc Ui Chaoimh as the match venue.

qualms

It is understood that Tipperary, naturally, had no qualms with the Waterford proposal but ultimately, the status quo remained in place.

Cunningham explained: "We had to give our support to team management and players. We are disappointed with the result but from here our full concentration is on the Munster final -- and winning it. The odds were stacked against us as the fixture was already made. We accept the Munster Council's decision and we move on from here."

Waterford, of course, have painful memories from last year's Munster final against Tipperary, also played at Pairc Ui Chaoimh.

The Premier county ran out 7-19 to 0-19 winners but the Waterford players insisted that the result of that game was not a major factor in their decision to push for Semple Stadium, which is a home venue for Tipp and where they train for the majority of the summer.

One delegate present at Monday's county board meeting in Waterford revealed: "We spoke about going to Thurles -- the players and management wanted it -- and there were no dissenting voices. I couldn't believe the decision of the Munster Council.

"We would have health and safety concerns about certain areas of the ground (Pairc Ui Chaoimh) and it is also important to note that there was no financial 'sweetheart' deal discussed with Tipperary."

On a brighter note, Cunningham praised the Munster Council for slashing adult ticket prices, bought in advance, by €5.

"We were happy with that announcement," he said. "It should help to boost the attendance."

Irish Independent

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