New Sunday's Well coach David Corkery argues structural change needed in AIL

New Sunday's Well coach David Corkery argues structural change needed in AIL
The then Cork Con coach David Corkery in charge against Dungannon. Now he's taking over Sunday's Well. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

FORMER Ireland international David Corkery is returning to Sunday’s Well for a second stint as head coach.

He’ll be joined ex-Munster wing John O’Neill while Conor O’Brien is the new club captain.

Corkery, who also played for the Well, last coached in the All-Ireland League three years ago with Dolphin.

“I’d swore I’d never go back unless it was a school environment with lots of bodies. But, the Well is a lovely club, a good working man’s club and they’ve started building new dressing rooms and a gym.

“John has great experience and is unbelievably enthusiastic, which is something I greatly admire in him,” Corkery said.

The Well were involved in a turbulent Division 2C last season, fluctuating up and down a table which changed considerably every week before the campaign ended abruptly.

It’s the usual story for amateur clubs, losing a few players and gaining a few, but nobody knows if there’s going to be a season and when it will start if there is one.

Corkery is adamant structural change must come.

“I firmly believe the home and away scenario has to go. If I was on the IRFU committee dealing with clubs I’d either make the leagues provincial or split the country in two.

“What’s the point in the likes of the Well or Midleton travelling up north, spending €5,000-€6,000 a trip?

“There’s very little joy in it for anyone and it’s the same for the teams from Ulster coming down here.

“And it’s not just one trip, you could be on the road three of four times during a season. Add it up and it’s in the region of €20,000 gone for a club already put to the pins of their collar financially.

“Finance has to be uppermost in people’s thinking because clubs will fold otherwise.”

The player pool is dwindling all the time as well with fewer and fewer players around.

“Fellows are concentrating on work and I’d say rugby is probably fourth or fifth choice in their thinking. They have to get off work on Fridays and that affects the team because some of them can’t do that.

“Then, it’s three or four in the morning when you get back home. It takes unbelievable commitment.

“Overall, I’d leave the first division as it is and leave those clubs as the feeder to the professional game.

“They have the numbers, big enough squads and the financial clout. I’d encourage the union to give them slightly more funding because those clubs would provide players to the professional side.

“I believe from division 2A down rugby is really recreational stuff for the players involved. They train Tuesday and Thursday and play the game on Saturday.

“What’s the point in travelling the length of the country to play in front of 10 people?

“I’d draw a line from Dublin to Galway, we’ll say, and base games on geography with a maximum of 10 AIL games, but include relegation and promotion play-offs, too.

“I’d have to look at it more closely, but that would be my thinking now.

“I’d also have a Munster Senior League and with the senior cup and the Charity Cup, you’d have enough games to fill in the blanks.”

Corkery will be demanding commitment from the squad, something he considers taken-as-read.

David Corkery after an Ireland loss to France in 1998. Picture: INPHO/Patrick Bolger
David Corkery after an Ireland loss to France in 1998. Picture: INPHO/Patrick Bolger

“Some of the excuses I’ve got over the years were just incredible: ‘I can’t come to training because it’s my sister’s debs.’

"Just show up for training on Tuesday and Thursday and play the game on Saturday. I judge a player on whether I’d go to war with him and I’d do that if he gives me a commitment."

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