The Tony Considine column: Cork hurlers still have clear issues but impressive new management team offers hope

The Tony Considine column: Cork hurlers still have clear issues but impressive new management team offers hope

Kilkenny’s Adrian Mullen with Bill Cooper of Cork. Cooper was one of two Rebels who did their bit consistently last summer. Picture: INPHO/Gary Carr

THE inter-county season is long over, so most counties have their management teams in place.

There are lot of new groups emerging. In Munster alone there are three new management teams, but before we move into that, we will look back at some of the highlights of the year, and apart from the All-Ireland hurling semi-finals, there wasn’t many more good games to write home about.

Cork will look back at what was poor year really, apart from winning in the Gaelic Grounds against Limerick, which was their highlight of the campaign. I would have to say it was a most disappointing year for Cork.

Aside from Patrick Horgan, who kept the show going for them, and to a lesser extent Bill Cooper, the rest of the Cork players should be very unhappy with their performances.

You would have to say they were very lucky to get out of Munster. Same old failings again when they went to Croke Park to take on Kilkenny: a complete lack of intensity and game plan to beat the Cats.

And whatever about lacking a game plan, you should never lack intensity.

There are a lot of questions to be asked about this Cork team.

Have they got the players and the know-how to win big matches especially matches in Croke Park? They definitely didn’t have it this year.

But now they have a new manager for next year, and boy have they picked a large management team — they nearly have a coach for everything — they have more coaches than Bus Éireann!

It seems to be the norm now to have a big management team. I’m not sure it is a good idea to have so many people involved.

The more you have, the more opinions you have and I believe this can cause a lot of confusion at times. It’s crucial for Kieran Kingston to specify their roles, no matter how many there are.

I think the less you have in a dressing room the better, provided of course that they are quality men who know their role, and more importantly, that the players know their role. Too many messages to players can cause more problems that solve them.

I’m sure the Cork management team is experienced enough to know this, after all Diarmuid O’Sullivan and Ger Cunningham have been through it before, both as players and mentors.

I know Cork have put strong management teams in all grades this year, but there is a difference between strong management teams and winning management teams, and Cork haven’t been winning for a while now. The Cork public getting uneasy with this, so its a big year for everyone concerned.

The one thing Kingston and his selectors need to do is to settle on their best full-back and centre-back, two vital positions. They also need to sort out a centre-forward and a full-forward. That’s the spine of your team. Cork need to get that right as these positions have caused them serious problems in the last few years.

But at least they have their management team in place for some time, unlike Clare and Galway. It has taken the most of the year to get sorted, what a joke for these two counties.

The Clare situation was a bit like Lannigans Ball for a while with “I stepped in and you stepped out and I stepped in again”.

The board handled this very poorly, and it was the laughing stock for a while. Are these people capable of making decisions?

I believe the appointment of a manager should be taken out of the hands of the County Board and a director of hurling be employed in each region. He should then bring in an outside interview board where there would be no nodding, or wink wink, or kiss me arse kind of an interview.

Bring in professionals to do this job and then give the job to the right man — cut out all the tom foolery — it gives a bad image to a county.

Board officers should stick to the admin side of things. Also employ a commercial manager to manage the financial side of things.

I think there would be less confusion and more transparency all round especially now with big financial backers coming in to support teams, and these guys carry a lot of clout now. You can see the last two All-Ireland winners, Limerick and Tipperary have big brass behind them, so they in turn would expect professionalism, and like it or not that is the way the game is going.

What has been happening in Clare and Galway is a perfect example of how to do it wrong. It’s very unfair on managers coming in to these positions. Most managers now are smart and very professional in their approach, both in their private and professional lives, and they know how important it is to be in a good set-up.

I would think too that most supporters want that also. They like to see their team get every chance and be well prepared and getting full backing from everybody.

Clare have a very high-profile boss now in Brian Lohan and if Brian brings to the management table what he brought as a player, then Clare are in very safe hands. In my time working with Brian he was the most focused and fearless player that I was ever involved with, completely honest and dedicated to the cause.

I hope he gets the backing of everyone in the county and especially from the powers that be.

Galway only just got Shane O’Neill. This is a county with great potential, winning an All-Ireland in 2017 and in the final in 2018 and now it’s a war zone in Galway. God help us!

We thought Brexit was mad, the antics in Galway didn’t make sense at all. Who is running Galway GAA?

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