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Cork Footballers Refuse To Play Kerry Semi-Final Away From Pairc Uí Rinn

Cork Footballers Refuse To Play Kerry Semi-Final Away From Pairc Uí Rinn
By Eoin Harrington

Earlier this week, it was announced that Cork's Munster senior football championship semi-final against Kerry in May would be moved from Pairc Uí Rinn to Fitzgerald Stadium in Killarney.

Ed Sheeran plays two concerts in Cork's home ground of Pairc Uí Chaoímh in late April. As a result, Cork GAA would be unable to host the semi-final as planned in Pairc Uí Chaoímh on May 7, and the game was initially moved to the smaller Pairc Uí Rinn in Cork.

Munster GAA then deemed the 11,000 capacity of Pairc Uí Rinn too small to deal with the demand for tickets for such a big clash, and moved the game to Fitzgerald Stadium in Killarney - handing home advantage to Kerry.

Late on Thursday night, Cork's footballers released a defiant statement on the matter.

They announced their disappointment with the move by Munster GAA, and said that they would be preparing for the match to take place in Pairc Uí Rinn on May 7.

Cork GAA: Rebels refuse to move Munster semi-final from Pairc Uí Rinn

Cork's footballers have spoken out about the change in venue for their upcoming Munster semi-final against Kerry.

The Rebels and the Kingdom have a long-standing agreement of alternating home advantage for clashes between the counties in the Munster championship - an arrangement which has now been broken by the decision of Munster GAA.

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In a statement issued on Thursday night, the Cork footballers said that they were disappointed in the decision, and that they would be preparing to play the game in Pairc Uí Rinn.

As players and management our sole focus is on preparing and playing to the best of our ability next month in the Munster Championship, representing our families, our clubs and our county. We did not envisage needing to issue this statement.

Cork and Kerry have long had an agreement in place to decide home and away fixtures. This year’s fixture is a home game for Cork, as initially announced in a press release by Munster GAA on the 4th of March.

We believe the decision made this week by the Munster Council must be reversed.

The decision to take the game to Killarney is driven by the financial benefits resulting from a larger crowd. We feel this reasoning sets a bad precedent, it is wrong and it goes against the values of the Gaelic Athletic Association.

As such, we are preparing for the Munster Football Semi-Final on 7 May 2022 to be played in Páirc Uí Rinn.

We will not be playing the match in any other venue.

Though the players and management of Cork will have had nothing to do with the decision to hold concerts at Pairc Uí Chaoímh, plenty of fans online have pointed out that the Cork county board have brought this situation on themselves by choosing to host Ed Sheeran in the stadium during championship season.

The result is that Cork now face a battle to wrestle back home advantage for a crucial game against one of the favourites for the All-Ireland championship.

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Munster GAA have just over a month to figure out the mess of the SFC semi-final venue. There are shades of 2018's "Newbridge or Nowhere" saga to the whole thing - and we suspect this could similarly drag on for quite some time.

SEE ALSO: 9 Clubs Teams You'll Find In Nearly Every County

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