Improving the club standards on Leeside is as important as finding Peadar Healy's replacement

Improving the club standards on Leeside is as important as finding Peadar Healy's replacement
Cork manager Peadar Healy checks his watch against Mayo. Picture: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

PEADAR Healy touched briefly on a number of important topics after his final game as Cork football manager.

History is unlikely to be overly kind to his two-year stewardship, a reign which did not always receive a favourable bounce of the ball.

Nobody, though, could question his commitment or that of Healy's management team, especially in the long hours spent driving to and from training.

It's over two-and-a-half hours from his Glengarriff home to the Fermoy base and back, three times a week for the guts of half a year.

“Ruairí Deane drives from Bantry to work in Castletownbere and then drives to Fermoy afterward for training,” Healy outlined.

He spoke passionately about the importance of structures. “It's having some place to call home, where you can train every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Ideally, you'd want a base on the Ballincollig side of the city.”

Healy acknowledged the difficulties posed by the county's vast geographical spread in coming up with a base suited to everyone, but he was more forthright, when talking about football structures.

“Look at Dublin, Kerry and Tyrone, who've all got schools of excellence. Their clubs are good. Their schools are good. If your Corn Ui Mhuirí teams are good, your minor teams are good.

“When your clubs are strong your U21 teams are strong and so are your senior teams. You win Munster and All-Ireland championships. You need that,” Healy said before signing off.

There's no rush in finding a successor, but, as is always the case, there'll be piles of speculation about likely candidates.

One thing is clear, though, there's a major onus on the board to put the right man in place because who ever is handed the chalice, considered poisoned or otherwise, has a huge task on their hands.

Cork are a team in transition and if anyone believes the incumbent can simply wave a magic wand and make the rebels great again is not living on this planet.

They'll inherit a panel sure to be missing a sizeable chunk because of retirements and with a greater number of exciting youngsters who require careful guidance and nurturing.

Next year there's a new dynamic at play in inter-county football. Forget the Super 8 for the time being, the introduction of a new U17 grade to replace minor and an U20 summer championship to replace the U21 grade carries as much significance for Cork as the senior manager's appointment.

It's imperative there's joined-up thinking in the process to finding managers, selectors and coaches for all three teams.

Ideally, you need people with a genuine interest, experience, expertise and knowledge to come together to formulate some mid-term and long-term plan for the future of Cork football.

Already, Kerry are poised to appoint Jack O'Connor as U20 manager, a reflection of how seriously the Kingdom are treating the new championship, which is basically a development competition devoid of inter-county players.

Cork's record of late makes for grim enough reading, no senior title in Munster since 2012 and an All-Ireland two years before with Kerry claiming the last five titles and set-fair to stretch the sequence.

Minor stats show Cork's most recent provincial success came in 2010 and the last Ireland a decade prior though the county's U21 record bucks the trend, finishing level on 26 victories with Kerry.

Winning five of the last seven stagings suggests obvious potential, but the absence of an All-Ireland, last achieved in 2009, slightly dilutes the achievement on a broader scale.

Probably the most disconcerting note of all involves the current club championships in the county.

The dogs in the streets know the senior football championship is not fit for purpose because of the high number of clubs who are nowhere near the required standard.

Splitting the intermediate championship in two since 2006 doesn't appear to have helped either, particularly, when it comes to the Munster and All-Ireland club championships.

Nemo Rangers were the last club to win Munster in 2010 and the All-Ireland in 2002.

Cork have won four intermediate titles, Clyda Rovers in 2013 being the last. The most recent All-Ireland came via Carbery Rangers in 2004.

In junior, Cork captured two, Canovee provincial and national champions in 2007 being the most recent.

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