July 4, 2022

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Munster Council confirm Kerry v Cork semi-final will be played in Fitzgerald Stadium on May 7

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Kerry’s Munster senior football championship semi-final against Cork will be played in Fitzgerald Stadium, Killarney on May 7, despite the Cork County Board and team management’s express wish to have the game played in Pairc Ui Rinn.

ith Pairc Ui Chaoimh unavailable at the end of April / start of May because of an Ed Sheeran concert there on April 28, Cork GAA had said they would play the game to Pairc Ui Rinn, as it it their turn to host the fixture as per the home and away arrangement with Kerry.

However, while the Munster Council website had flagged Pairc Ui Rinn as the venue for the May 7 fixture, since the weekend speculation had grown that the game would be officially fixed for Killarney.

The reason for the move was that Pairc Ui Rinn wouldn’t be able to come close to catering for the expected attendance the game would draw, with conservative estimates suggesting the Boreenmanna Road venue could only accommodate in the region of 40% of the expected crowd.

Pairc Ui Rinn can currently only accommodate 9,200 spectators, and even assurances from Cork GAA that they could get the capacity up to 11,000 or 12,000 didn’t seem to sit well, according to sources, with the provincial council.

On Tuesday – in light of speculation that the Cork County Board would accede to a Munster Council request to change the game to Killarney – the Cork senior team management wrote to their own county board saying that they absolutely wanted, and expected, the game to be played in Pairc Ui Rinn.

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There were suggestions from management that the game be played in Pairc Ui Chaoimh on an different date, or that the game be played at a neutral venue, and there was even the hint that they might refuse to play in Killarney.

On Wednesday morning the Cork County Board issued a statement that said: “Further to correspondence from our senior football management, the Cork County Executive wishes, once more, to confirm Páirc Uí Rinn as our home venue for the Munster Senior Football Championship semi-final versus Kerry. Secondly, we are confident that the necessary works can be completed in time for the fixture once the venue is confirmed in the next few days.”

For all that, the Munster Council has pressed ahead this evening with their decision to fix the game for Fitzgerald Stadium in Killarney, with the only tweak being that the throw-in will be at 6pm, as opposed to the original start time of 7pm.

A statement from the Council on Wednesday night said: “At a meeting of the Munster CCC held this evening, the venue for the Munster Senior Football semi-final between Cork and Kerry was discussed. The game was originally fixed for Páirc Uí Rinn given the unavailability of Páirc Uí Chaoimh, in the expectation that Páirc Uí Rinn would hold 15,000 spectators.

“Following an independent statutory annual health and safety inspection which identified a number of issues at the ground, the capacity was reduced to 9,200 and even If all of the required works are completed on time, the maximum capacity that can be achieved at the venue is 11,000.

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“Given the average attendance of the last three Cork v Kerry matches in the Munster Senior Football Championship held at Páirc Uí Chaoimh is in excess of 22,000, (not including the Covid restricted match in 2020), Munster Council decided to move the 2022 Munster semi-final between the teams to Fitzgerald Stadium Killarney on Saturday May 7th at the earlier start time of 6pm. It is also expected that this game will form a double header with Munster LFGA (further details to follow).

“Based on the long-standing home and away agreement between Kerry and Cork, following on from this year’s game in Killarney, the next two meetings of the counties in the Munster Senior Football Championship will take place at Páirc Uí Chaoimh. A similar arrangement was successfully used during the recent redevelopment of Páirc Uí Chaoimh.”

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