Cork GAA chief hails Kerrigan as board prepare to review football management 

Cork GAA chief hails Kerrigan as board prepare to review football management 

Cork manager Ronan McCarthy has completed his three-year term but is likely to be reappointed in the coming weeks. Picture: INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

CORK GAA CEO/secretary Kevin O’Donovan saluted Paul Kerrigan’s contribution to the red jersey.

The Nemo Rangers forward stepped away after a fantastic 13-year innings with the county senior footballers, the 2010 All-Ireland victory the stand-out achievement.

“His contribution to Cork football speaks for itself in terms of the records he achieved and the scores he got,” O’Donovan said.

“What an inspirational Paul was as well and played on in some difficult periods after Cork had success.

“There were times when he soldiered for Cork with very little thanks or very little glory in it. I think that was a testament to Paul.

“He showed a great attitude, especially in the last couple of years, when he was on the bench even though he had his All-Ireland medal.

“Any time Paul came on he definitely pushed the thing on and you have to look at his achievements with Cork and Nemo over the years to know there’s very little to add to it,” he added.

Kerrigan, though, will continue to wear the green and black of Nemo with a county final looming against Castlehaven in the new year.

“He might have two finals to look forward to next year, who knows?” O’Donovan commented.

Nemo Rangers' Paul Kerrigan is tackled by Duhallow's John McLoughlin in the semi-final earlier this year. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Nemo Rangers' Paul Kerrigan is tackled by Duhallow's John McLoughlin in the semi-final earlier this year. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

Cork are still planning for the four county football finals in March after giving clubs that commitment of not moving dates.

But, that hinges on what Croke Park unveils in the coming weeks about the shape of the 2021 season. Is it county first followed by club or the reverse?

“If clubs came to us and wanted to play at an earlier date we would certainly look at those proposals.

“But we await the inter-county programme and what we’ll do with our county league programme.

“All we want to do is give clubs a fair chance of preparing for those county finals. There has got to be a lead-in because it’s not fair to just throw them in to finals.

“I believe all the Cork players are even better players with their club and that definitely applies to Paul because he’s given great service with more to come.”

Cork manager Ronan McCarthy completed his three-year term after the Munster final defeat by Tipperary.

“The executive will look at that pretty urgently because everyone is already making plans for next year,” O’Donovan added.

“We haven’t discussed it yet and not formally met. To be fair the team only played recently and it would be wrong to have had big talks last week. We needed things to settle, but as of this week, we will be moving on quickly to prepare for next season.

“There’s talk of the league starting at the end of February so it is a quick turnaround, but the players are still in good shape. You could only imagine how our players and management felt on Monday morning.

“It upsets me a little bit then when the public criticism gets a bit vitriolic in certain narrow places.

“My defining memory of Cork football in recent years was the league defeat in Clare almost two years ago now. That was really the game that sent us down to Division 3.

“I have seen improvements since then and while the Tipperary defeat was heart-breaking that’s a good Tipp team though we had a bad day at the office.

“We’re trying to get from Division 3 to Division 1 and beat Kerry and Dublin in the one go, but I believe we’ll have to grow into Division 2 first.”

O’Donovan admitted it was a disappointing season for the hurlers, but it wasn’t all doom and gloom.

“We did see a kick in the Dublin game even though it wasn’t of the highest level ever played in Cork, but it showed commitment and in the direction we’re going.

“New players were introduced and there was more aggression in the style of play, as well. We all know the ante was upped that day.

“It’s that word again, consistency. We get those performances every so often, like in the Gaelic Grounds last year.

“So, if that could be set as a template this maybe the year when we enter a successful era,” O’Donovan concluded.

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