Ronan McCarthy hit with a 12-week ban but Cork are likely to appeal the decision

Footballers are sanctioned for breach of rule by holding 'team bonding session' in Youghal
Ronan McCarthy hit with a 12-week ban but Cork are likely to appeal the decision

Cork manager Ronan McCarthy is facing a lengthy ban. Picture: INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

CORK footballers, along with champions Tipperary, have received a bye to the summer’s Munster semi-final.

They await the winners of the quarter-finals involving Kerry, Limerick, Clare and Waterford.

Both rounds will feature open draws with the prospect of another Cork-Kerry semi-final showdown like last season.

But, whether Ronan McCarthy will be in charge of the Cork team at the time of championship action is a moot point following his 12-week suspension arising from the controversial group bonding session on a beach in Youghal.

Croke Park hit McCarthy with his suspension on top of Cork forfeiting a home game in the yet-to-be-established national league campaign.

The matter was briefly discussed at a county board meeting, which was held remotely.

Kevin O’Donovan, the board’s CEO/Sec, touched briefly on the subject.

“Those are the proposed penalties,” he said, adding “we are giving due consideration at present as to whether we will seek a hearing or not.”

It’s almost certain McCarthy will have to sit out Cork’s Division 2 south league games against Clare, Kildare and Laois unless there’s a successful appeal, which seems unlikely.

In that case, the most probable way forward is for coach Cian O’Neill to take over the managerial reigns, particularly as he has previous experience of the role with his native Kildare.

Cork could also make it a joint-manager position in the interim with newcomer Bobbie O’Dwyer joining O’Neill in a twin operation.

O’Dwyer’s widely acknowledged organisational skills, as well as his footballing nous, could fit the bill until McCarthy’s return.

McCarthy’s suspension is due to start at the time of the resumption of inter-county training, originally scheduled for the 15th, but now put on hold indefinitely because of Covid.

It’s also the same situation with the structure of the league, which was meant to open at the end of the month but has been put back to as of yet unspecified date.

All these timings will impact on the management of the Cork football squad especially if McCarthy’s spell on the sidelines drifts into championship.

AWAY RECORD

It’s also possible all Cork’s league games will have to be played on the road.

Based on recent season’s scheduling Cork are set to play two games away with one at home, but that is going to be forfeited, so the Rebels could be heading for Ennis, Newbridge and Portlaoise in their promotion drive to Division 1.

Yet, under McCarthy’s stewardship Cork have a better away record, winning seven of their 10 games on their travels, drawing one and losing just two.

Cork’s home record is played 11, winning five and losing six.

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