Saturday 16 December 2017

Waterford could face Pairc rebellion

Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

THE Waterford County Board could face a rebellion from the squad if they agree to Pairc Ui Chaoimh as the venue for the Munster hurling final if it involves Cork.

Neither Waterford nor Cork have yet reached the final, but with both hot favourites to do so, the venue for the final on July 11 is up for discussion.

It was claimed at the weekend that Waterford had agreed, in principle, that if it were a Cork-Waterford final, it would be played in Pairc Ui Chaoimh.

However, the County Board are insisting that the final is not even on their agenda because Waterford haven't reached it yet.

"Our only consideration is the game against Clare in Thurles next Monday. Others can talk about the final if they wish, but it only becomes an issue for us if we beat Clare. We have nothing further to add for now," said Waterford secretary Tim O'Keeffe.

However, it is understood that the Waterford squad were stunned to hear Munster Council sources suggest that a Cork-Waterford final might be played at Pairc Ui Chaoimh and have indicated privately that under no circumstances would they be prepared to accept that.

Waterford agreed to concede home advantage to Tipperary by playing last year's final in Thurles, but did so as part of the GAA's 125th-anniversary celebrations.

It is also understood that Waterford players like Semple Stadium, where they have played several times in recent years.

Waterford's last Munster championship game in Pairc Ui Chaoimh was in 2006 when they lost a semi-final to Tipperary.

Large capacity grounds enable Limerick, Cork and Tipperary to operate home and away arrangements between each other, but that does not apply to Waterford or Clare, whose main grounds in Walsh Park and Cusack Park no longer host Munster championship games.

Accordingly, all matches involving Waterford and Clare are usually played at neutral venues.

Irish Independent

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