Páirc Uí Chaoimh has been given the green light to stage next month's Munster hurling final between Cork and Limerick - but with a crowd capacity to be set at around 37,500 that's assumimg remedial works are carried out before the final date otherwise the capacity will be 32,500.
Cork were always entitled to home advantage for the July 13th showdown, given Limerick staged last year’s final between the counties: however, a meeting of the Munster Council last night reviewed the recent health and safety report on Páirc Uí Chaoimh and with that were forced to limit the capacity. Last year’s final, at the Gaelic Grounds, attracted a crowd of 42,370 – and saw Limerick win their first Munster hurling title since 1996.
Cork will start as favourites this time, although ticket demand still looks certain to outweigh the supply. With planning permission now approved for a €70 million revamp of the entire stadium, bringing the capacity back up to 45,000, the Munster hurling final will also mark the last major GAA match at the aging Páirc Uí Chaoimh.
The venue Uí Chaoimh will also host the Munster football final, on July 6th, between Cork and Kerry.
Meanwhile, the GAA’s Central Council will finally get the opportunity to discuss part two of Football Review Committee’s report – which looks at competition structures and fixtures scheduling in football only. It was originally due to be discussed last month: however, it is the only item up for discussion at Saturday’s meeting, and Central Council must decide what, if any, of the recommendations should go before next year’s
for full implementation.
There are 14 proposals in all, and the first proposal asks if the GAA's Central Competitions Control Committee should have the overall responsibility of coordinating all fixtures at national, provincial, county, club, third level and schools: it is suggested that one of the main difficulties of the current system is that there are various bodies making fixtures independently which does not lend itself to a coherent fixtures programme.
The most controversial proposal is to reorganise the provincial football championships, to begin with eight teams in each province. Teams playing in the preliminary games in Leinster and Ulster would be determined by national league position in the previous year, with the three preliminary round losers in Leinster moving to either Connacht or Munster, and the preliminary-round losers in Ulster moving into Connacht – all aimed at ensuring at least eight teams compete in each province.
The 16 provincial quarter-finals would then be played over two successive weekends; the eight provincial semi-finals would also be played over two weekends. The four provincial finals would be played over two successive weekends in July with the All-Ireland quarter finals in early August. There would be no change to the dates for All-Ireland semi-finals and All-Ireland final.
The qualifier system would also be retained, with the 16 provincial first-round losers entering round one. There is also a proposal that would see the All-Ireland club football championship being completed in the calendar year, with the final taking place in December.
With reference to club activity, there is a proposal to ensure the period from mid-April to early August would see a significant amount of club championship activity, with all counties required to have reached the semi-final stages of their intermediate and senior football club championships by the first weekend in August.