The John Horgan column: The Cork role is now almost a full-time job

The John Horgan column: The Cork role is now almost a full-time job
Cork U17 bainisteoir John Considine with selector Donal Burke. Picture: John D Kelly.

GIVEN the county’s very high profile, the appointment of a new Cork hurling manager generates nationwide interest.

Since Kieran Kingston made the decision not to take up an invitation from the Cork County Board to extend his term in office the rumour mill in the interim period has been in overdrive.

In comparison to Kilkenny, where Brian Cody has been the sole occupant of the managerial hot seat for 20 years now, dating back to 1998, Cork has had quite a large turnover of those charged with guiding the county’s fortunes.

In fact, since Jimmy Barry-Murphy led the county to All-Ireland glory in 1999, Cork has had nine different men at the helm.

Just for the record, the nine have been, Tom Cashman, Bertie Óg Murphy, Donal O’Grady, John Allen, Gerald McCarthy, John Considine, Denis Walsh, Barry Murphy again and Kieran Kingston.

O’Grady and Allen were the only two of that nine to bring the McCarthy Cup to Leeside in 2004 and 2005, the latter the last time the county was successful.

The hunt is now on again for a new appointment with a number of names being thrown around.

Already three members of Kingston’s management team have opted out, Diarmuid O'Sullivan, Pat Hartnett and Pat Ryan leaving John Meyler as the remaining member of the five-man team that brought back the Munster championship trophy to Leeside.

The new boss will try to get the best out of Seamus Harnedy and co. Picture: INPHO/Ryan Byrne
The new boss will try to get the best out of Seamus Harnedy and co. Picture: INPHO/Ryan Byrne

If some sort of continuity is to be maintained then the most logical thing to do would be to keep a few of the last management heavily involved, say with Meyler as senior boss but O’Sullivan or Ryan as U21 boss.

That, of course, is dependent on both being willing to go forward.

The players were very anxious before Kingston called time that there would be some form of continuity from this season.

It now remains to be seen what will transpire with the deliberations of those charged with appointing the new man.

One thing is a certainty, the appointment, and quite rightly, will be from within the county.

So who might the leading lights be?

And might there be a situation whereby the new man would have a form of apprentice alongside him to take the reins when his time ended, somebody like Tom Kenny, now with UCC, or Seán Óg Ó hAilpín with Na Piarsaigh.

John Considine is another name that has been linked to the post and he has a strong pedigree too.

He did a top job with the Cork U17s this season and is highly regarded at headquarters.

Pat Mulcahy has been serving his time with Cork IT in the Fitzgibbon Cup and being a former star player, he may feature in those deliberations.

Ger Cunningham has served in the past and has a lot of experience despite an unhappy time in the capital.

Tomás Mulcahy was very interested when Kingston got the nod and, if interested, could come under the spotlight again.

Donal Óg Cusack is an obvious name and a strong candidate but it is unlikely he would find favour at this point in time.

In an ideal world, Kingston would have extended his term but the demands now on an inter-county manager in a county with Cork’s profile are monumental.

Family considerations, business commitments etc have to be taken into account and, being quite honest about it, it has become almost a full-time post.

We saw what transpired this season in Waterford with Derek McGrath when he took a year out from teaching to concentrate fully on managing the Decies.

That illustrated what managing at that level has become.

To be fair to the Cork County Board, they were not slow with the process of appointing Ronan McCarthy as football boss and it’s likely that a similar situation will apply with the hurling.

Whoever takes on the reins will find Cork hurling in a better place because of the decisions and the work that Kingston’s management team put in.

Most importantly, they returned the feelgood factor to the game in the county and coming up through the ranks now there’s a lot of potential and quality about.

It’s unlikely that there will much change to the current squad although from year to year it’s very important too that a couple of fresh faces come on board There are no guarantees, of course, going forward and just because you had a good season one year, the next might not be a repeat of that.

Meanwhile, one has to agree with Waterford’s Jamie Barron’s comments last week regarding UCC’s participation in the Cork championships.

He said: “It’s probably hard for a club team who have been training all year to be beaten by a group of college lads who haven’t done as much training or preparation.

"But that’s the way it is there and it’s up to the county board. It’s not our fault that we are playing in it."

 He’s probably on the money there. These UCC hurlers don’t make the rules and all they are doing is just going out and enjoying a game of hurling and doing their best.

If this topic raises its head again in the future one solution may be to allow Cork players only to represent the college.

And it must be mentioned too that UCC are not winning the title every year, in fact you have to go back to 1970 for their last hurling success.

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