Waterford GAA “most certainly did not” cede home advantage to Cork in any would-be Munster Hurling Final between the counties next month.
That’s according to the Waterford County Board after it was reported this week some sort of vague arrangement had been arrived at which would see a possible July 11th decider with the Rebels played in Páirc Uí Chaoimh.
However, County PRO Joe Cleary utterly dismissed the notion and said it was the first he’d heard of it when this newspaper contacted him on Monday. He insisted there is no such understanding, either informal or otherwise, with Cork or the provincial council.
However, immediately after Cork’s surprise victory over Tipperary on Leeside last Sunday, the Munster Competitions Control Committee – having waited as normal until the semi-final pairings were known – sat down to decide the venues for the four possible final permutations. (The purported outcome is that Cork-Waterford will be in Páirc Ui Chaoimh, Cork-Clare in the Gaelic Grounds, Limerick-Waterford in Semple Stadium and Limerick-Clare also in Thurles.)
This followed an apparent offer from Waterford to travel to the ‘second city’ should the Deise overcome Clare at Semple Stadium next Monday and, as expected, the Rebels account for Limerick by the banks on June 20th.
Munster Council PRO Jim Forbes was quoted on Tuesday as saying “Waterford volunteered this. It certainly came as a surprise to us – out of the blue really.” The prospect of playing Cork on their own patch “was mooted a couple weeks back by Waterford at a Munster Council meeting”, he added.
Such a concession would be baffling given that Waterford’s finest hours against Cork in recent times have typically been in Thurles, which is regarded as the Deise’s ‘home from home’. And though, as the Munster spokesman says, Semple as a ‘final destination’ is “not set in stone”, it has hosted eight out of the last twelve hurling showpieces, including Waterford’s famous fourteen-man triumph against Cork in 2004.
See The Munster Express newspaper for full story.