Homecoming Shouldn’t Move
"Town" belongs to everyone and it is the most appropriate meeting point for all the people of Cork to come together. After years of heart wrenching defeats both on and off the field the city centre offers adequate space for Corkonians to celebrate their 'Corkness' in the place that they call home.
Cork's garden shed isn't the best place for a homecoming - victorious or otherwise
In 2008 thousands of us marched around the very same streets in the cold winter rain in support of our footballers' battle against the Cork County Board. To have Graham Canty bring back Sam Maguire within such a short period of time and to parade it through those very same streets that were once filled with despairing and frustrated fans raging against the obstacles put in the path of these gallant footballers, would be the ultimate Cork experience - a Rebel fairytale come true.
In otherwise glum times with a rambling hungover Taoiseach and ceaseless anecdotes emerging as to how he and others destroyed the Irish economy Corkonians could do with a bit of a celebration in a city centre that has continued its regeneration - Cornmarket Street the latest area to get a much needed short, back and sides.
As much as the Pairc holds some fond memories for Rebels, its forthcoming redevelopment is testament to its shambolic appearance and structure and given the recent death-sentence handed to its creaking foundations it just wouldn't feel right going there to worship this team.
The €50,000 cost of hosting the homecoming is certainly sizeable but it must be put in context especially if the estimated 30,000 supporters turn up: it's half of the very well paid Lord Mayor's salary for start and 0.4% of the €10 million generated from parking alone.
Should the GAA fork up for some of the costs? Without doubt - especially if they can afford to redevelop the Pairc but the 'homecoming' has to be what it means - the Cork team arriving into town - our real home. This allows all Corkonians to feel part of the occasion rather than making it an exclusively GAA owned event.
If the Rebel County was a house then Pairc Úi Chaoimh would be its garden shed and the city centre its living room. Any well regarded relative returning home from an adventure abroad should be shown into the finest room in the house. Especially if they bring you a shiny present for the county's mantelpiece!