Munster SHC Final Venue – Munster GAA Statement

STATEMENT FROM MUNSTER GAA

The Officers and members of the Competitions Control Committee of Comhairle na Mumhan CLG wish to inform its members and patrons of the facts involved in its recent decisions regarding the possible venue for the Munster Senior Hurling Final should Waterford and Cork qualify to meet in this year’s final.

On Thursday April 1st a scheduled meeting of Munster GAA Competitions Control Committee had on its official agenda the appointment of venues covering all permutations of possible participants in the Senior Hurling Final. This is normal practice so as to facilitate early decision making and preparing event management for such an iconic event in the GAA calendar not just in Munster but Nationally. At this meeting, Semple Stadium, Thurles was duly proposed and seconded as the venue for the possible meeting of Cork and Waterford in this game, were both counties to proceed to this stage of the competition.
As far as the Munster GAA Council was concerned this was now a scheduled fixture and the press and all counties were notified.

At a further Competitions and Control committee meeting of the Council held on May 13th where other regular agenda items were being decided upon, the Waterford Delegate on the committee informed the members that Waterford were in consultation with Tipperary and Cork on the venue for the Munster Final were his county to reach that stage of the competition against either opposition. He informed the members present that this was decided on by the County GAA Executive in Waterford and further stated that an agreement had been reached with Tipperary to play the game at Semple Stadium should both of those counties qualify for the Munster Senior Hurling Final. He added that discussions were ongoing with Cork on the matter. The Council Chairman expressed the view that our fixture had been made but that in light of such a proposal and agreement coming before the committee it would need a two thirds majority to alter the venue from what had already been decided. The Cork delegate expressed reluctance to make a decision on behalf of Cork as the matter had not properly been considered by the Cork Executive, as it had only come to light in recent days. The committee expressed the view that if the participating counties in the final were in agreement about the venue then a further meeting would revisit the decision but that it would still take a two thirds majority to overturn its original decision. It was agreed that following the Quarter Final meeting of Cork and Tipperary in Pairc Uí Chaoimh the Munster Competitions Control Committee would meet to consider the situation.

A  number discussions took place between Waterford Officers and Officers of Munster GAA and it was clear to the Council Officers that the request from Waterford to revisit the venue decision was considered and decided on by the Executive of Waterford GAA County Committee.

In a telephone conversation between the Chairman of Waterford GAA and the Secretary/CEO of Munster GAA on Friday May 28th the Waterford Chairman requested that the decision be not made until after the Waterford versus Clare game on Monday June 7th He stated “the Waterford Senior Hurling Manager does not want to give the impression that we are taking Clare for granted and hand them an advantage”. The Munster Secretary expressed the view that a decision had to be taken at the meeting on the following Sunday after the game but stated that he would inform the Council chairman of this request. This he did. The chairman held the same view and the meeting of the Competitions Control Committee which had been properly convened and communicated to the members of the Competitions Control Committee went ahead as scheduled.
At this meeting on Sunday May 30th, a proposal from Waterford to refix the Munster Hurling Final should Cork and Waterford meet in the decider was discussed and put to the meeting. The vote on the proposal to change the venue from Semple Stadium to Pairc Uí Chaoimh received the necessary two thirds majority and was carried.

The Council Competitions Control Committee, the Council  Officers and members at all times acted in good faith and with due consideration to all concerned made its decision to change the venue following a strong and reasonable case being presented to it by Waterford GAA. It is dismayed by media reports quoting the Waterford Chairman a stating that this decision was somehow flawed and did not represent the views of the Waterford GAA Executive. The Officers and members of Munster Competitions Control Committee are fully aware that this proposal emanated from the Waterford GAA Executive and not from the Waterford delegate as was hinted in these press reports. The article referred to above which appeared on Tuesday June 2nd also gave the view that this decision was made behind closed doors without the knowledge of Waterford GAA Executive.   Nothing could be further from the truth, as Waterford GAA Executive requested Munster Council to reverse its earlier decision and subsequently Officers of Waterford GAA including the Chairman discussed the proposal with Officers of Munster GAA. Sean Walsh Chairman of Munster GAA .spoke on behalf of the Committee when he stated “The Committee fully accept that the Waterford  Delegate on the Munster Competitions Control committee was acting on behalf of the Waterford GAA Executive when he spoke on this issue and the Council acknowledge the fact that Cork were drawn into this situation, like the Council, by Waterford’s original proposal which they later did a u-turn on. The Council also acknowledges the gracious manner which Cork allowed the Council Competition Control Committee to again revisit and alter the game from Pairc Uí Chaoimh when it had been scheduled there”.

Munster GAA wishes to put on record the following:
1: It was Waterford GAA Executive who requested and proposed moving this potential fixture to Pairc Uí Cahoimh from Semple Stadium,
2: This fixture was discussed at three meetings of the Munster GAA Competitions Control Committee as listed above.
3: Where the two participants in any Championship game are agreed on a venue for a fixture, it has previously been policy for the competitions Control Committee to accept their proposal provided the venue is suitable to host such a fixture.
4: Munster GAA completely and emphatically reject contentions made by the Chairman of  Waterford GAA in a newspaper article on Tuesday June 2nd that this matter was not discussed by Waterford GAA Executive and Munster GAA Competitions Control Committee fully accepts the bona fide proposal by the Waterford Delegate at the meeting when he made the proposal to change the venue on behalf of Waterford GAA Executive. This was substantiated in telephone conversations between members of the Waterford GAA Executive and Officers of the Munster Council.
5: Cork GAA did not initiate this proposal and agreed reluctantly to the original approach. Like the Council they were the innocent parties in the middle of this controversy.
6: Munster GAA accepted in good faith the proposal from Waterford GAA and in light of the u-turn by Waterford GAA had no option but to move the possible fixture back to its original venue.
7: Hints in the media that this was to be the commencement of a “Home and Away  agreement” in Senior Hurling were very wide of the mark as this was never even considered by the committee as Waterford does not have a suitable venue for such a game.
8: We expect the Waterford GAA Executive and in particular the Waterford Chairman to clarify fully their role in this decision and also expect that any inference given that the Council acted secretly or in any way other than with propriety be withdrawn.  
Issued on behalf of Munster GAA by
Jim Forbes
PRO
Email:pro.munster@gaa.ie