Major changes could be in store in Cork GAA for divisional and college teams in county championships

THE INVOLVEMENT OF divisional and college teams in the Cork senior football and hurling championships could be set for a major overhaul at the county’s annual convention next weekend.

Motions are set to be brought forward which if passed would remove divisional sides from the equation and prevent college teams from fielding non-Cork players in their sides.

The motions are being brought forward by Glen Rovers, county senior hurling champions in 2015 and 2016, and were first reported today by Denis Hurley in the Evening Echo newspaper.

The first one will see Glen Rovers seeking to delete bye-law 41, which permits the Cork county board to let divisional teams enter the senior championships. The second one would be a motion for GAA Congress if passed and would bar players from lining out for both the colleges teams and their home club in another county. Both motions will go before the convention in Cork on 15 December.

Divisional side Imokilly are the current Cork senior hurling champions, winning the title in October for the second successive year. They fielded a star-studded side including current Cork seniors Seamus Harnedy, Bill Cooper and Colm Spillane. The most recent divisional triumphs prior to 2017 occurred between 1996 and 1998 when Avondhu and Imokilly shared three crowns.

Bill Cooper celebrating Imokilly’s county final victory.

Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

Divisional side Duhallow – who had Donncha O’Connor, Aidan Walsh and Kevin Crowley in their ranks – lost out to St Finbarr’s in this year’s Cork senior football decider with Carbery in 2004 the last division to lift that crown.

The role of the college teams UCC and CIT has been a contentious one in Cork GAA with the involvement of players from outside the county. 

UCC reached the senior hurling semi-finals this year with Waterford duo Conor Gleeson and Tom Devine, Tipperary’s Michael Breen and Kerry’s Shane Conway amongst those they could call on.

They haven’t won the senior hurling title since 1970 but triumphed in football in 2011 with a side that contained the Kerry quartet of Paul Geaney, Johnny Buckley, Daithi Casey and Peter Crowley, and Roscommon’s Niall Daly. Buckley and Casey won Kerry senior medals the same year for Dr Crokes and then lined out against UCC in the Munster senior club final.

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Daithi Casey in action against UCC in the 2011 Munster senior club hurling final.

Source: Cathal Noonan

In 1999 UCC claimed the Munster senior club football crown with Paul Galvin and Eamonn Fitzmaurice both in action. CIT have only featured in one county senior decider when they lost the hurling showdown in 2011 with current Clare captain Pat O’Connor their best-known player from outside Cork.

UCC players celebrating their 1999 Munster club title win.

Source: Patrick Bolger/INPHO

There is also a Congress motion being tabled by the St Ita’s club, the home of Cork hurling captain Harnedy, that wants to see drawn All-Ireland semi-finals in football and hurling go to replays rather than extra-time.

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