BOBBIE O’DWYER’S elevation as a selector for the Cork senior footballers leaves a vacancy at minor level ahead of the new season.
Along with selectors Mick Hannon, James Masters, Ollie O’Sullivan, and Billy O’Connor, the Urhan-native in the Beara peninsula helped guide Cork to the 2019 All-Ireland title.
He was again at the helm in 2020 with former Cork senior manager Peadar Healy and Kieran Cronin taking over from Hannon and Masters who stepped down.
The championship is scheduled to start on March 20-21 under a yet-to-be-determined format.
Croke Park’s development Central Competitions Control Committee are to issue proposals on the matter.
It’s unlikely Munster’s well-intended but too drawn out system, will be continued given the prevailing circumstances.
It contained Limerick, Clare, Tipperary, and Waterford playing on a round-robin series of games before the top two qualified to play again to complete phase 1.
The next stage involved Cork and Kerry squaring up to determine who played either of the phase 1 finalists in the semi-finals.
It guaranteed counties a minimum of two games and it clearly benefited Cork in 2019, when they lost to Kerry twice in Munster, either side of defeating Clare, to reach the final.
And they used that experience to mount a successful All-Ireland campaign, which climaxed in the exciting extra-time win over Galway in the final.
The 2020 edition had to be curtailed because of Covid and the luck of the draw didn’t go Cork’s way as they were paired with Kerry in the semi-final in a season-defining game in Tralee.
The new season will be condensed into a two-month window leaving little wriggle room for any other format only straight knock-out with no second chance for losing provincial finalists again.
The All-Ireland final is pencilled in for the weekend of May 22-23.
Under current guidelines the earliest date for collective training is Friday, February 5, and challenge games will only be allowed from the 26th.
The 2020 championship is not finished, down to the last eight, with only Munster and Connacht completing their competitions.
Leinster are at the final stage with hot favourites Meath expected to take care of business against Offaly, who are also in the hurling decider against Kilkenny. Ulster have a bit more to go before the northern champions are known.
It’s at the semi-finals berth with defending champions Monaghan taking on Fermanagh and Tyrone meeting Derry.
One All-Ireland semi-final is already determined, the encounter between Munster champions Kerry, who completed eight-in-a-row, when defeating Clare in the final, and Connacht champions Roscommon, who pipped Sligo in a low-scoring game ruined by dreadful conditions.
There’s a six-week schedule to fulfil all games, beginning with provincial round 1 fixtures and concluding with the All-Ireland final. Cork, who were the defending Munster and All-Ireland champions in 2020, lost to Kerry in the semi-final at the beginning of March.
In the All-Ireland series, Kerry went under to Galway in the semis before the Connacht champ inflicted a second defeat in the final on Dublin, who had lost to Cork the previous year.
Galway are on course for a possible U20 double because their hurlers are in the Leinster final against Dublin with the winners meeting Cork in the final.
Manager Keith Ricken and his selectors, Maurice Moore, Mícheál Ó Cróínín, Colm O’Neill and Barry Corkery guided Cork to the 2019 titles.
This season’s competition will again be on the usual lines of straight knock-out with no warm-up leagues as had been the case in the past couple of seasons.
The skeleton of the 2021 season is in place and the meat on the bones will begin to appear as Croke Park and the provincial councils compile their fixtures with dates, times and venues to be issued in the coming weeks.
Cork footballers are in a new-look Division 2 South along with Clare, Kildare and Laois while Meath, Mayo, Westmeath and Down make up Division 2 North.
The top two teams in either section qualify for the semi-finals with the winners earning promotion while the bottom two teams meet to determine the relegation placings.