While there seems to be some suggestion that De La Salle and Thurles Sarsfields couldn’t agree on tossing a coin for the venue for the Munster club hurling final on Sunday week, the official line is that it was “the Munster Council’s decision to opt for a neutral venue for the decider” and the bottom line is that we are left with Páirc Uí Chaoimh. Now, I don’t think that should be as big a deal as it would be for an inter-county match. There’ll be a lot of legroom either side of each punter and the traffic pandemonium so brilliantly captured by tomkelly99 on boards.ie after the Munster final two years ago shouldn’t be an issue. Still, I’m confused as to why a match which is only likely to get a crowd of a few thousand should need to be staged in a ground capable (allegedly) of hosting over 40,000 people. It wasn’t always this way:
From the perspective of the 21st century, places like Emly and Cashel must seem like strange places to hold a final. But if you think about it – why not? Why allow these games to be swallowed up by cavernous venues designed for Biblical crowds in high summer? There is some rationale to playing these kind of matches in Croke Park, where the club player can experience the thrill of playing in Headquarters, but this hardly applies to Páirc Uí Chaoimh. No, scratch that. It definitely doesn’t apply to Páirc Uí Chaoimh.
The only reason I can think of is that the Munster Council have gotten too posh to be staging its grand occasions in piddling little venues like Clonmel. It’s possible that Clonmel isn’t up to scratch in terms of handling the demands of a crowd of a few thousand – the demographic of 1966 wouldn’t have worried too much about queuing for toilets. But if the facilities at places like Clonmel are such that you can’t play a Munster club final there anymore, that is a further indictment of the folly of sinking so much of the province’s resources into Thurles, Cork and Limerick, three giants hoovering up everything in their atmosphere like Jupiter or Saturn. Unfortunately the result of all this is that we can look forward to atmosphere on Sunday week that will be comparable to Mars or Pluto.