Paudie Murray looks set to become the Cork minor hurling manager for 2022.
While the quest for a new senior football boss is taking up much of the focus on Leeside – last week, Cork County Board circulated a statement inviting applications for the post – there are underage vacancies to fill, too.
Just under two years ago, when Kieran Kingston was re-appointed as senior hurling manager and Pat Ryan took charge of the U20 side, Cork put in a place a new pathway for underage sides. At the time, Dónal Óg Cusack was given the minor manager’s role but it was a one-year term, with Noel Furlong confirmed as U16 boss for 2020, then transitioning to the minor post for 2021.
As things transpired, there would be no development-squad action in the Covid-affected 2020 campaign, but Furlong and his team made light of such impediments as they saw off all before them, beating Clare, Limerick, Waterford and Galway by double-digit tallies as Cork won the minor All-Ireland for the first time since 2001.
Having brought that team through from U15 level – some of the management team had been involved since U14 – Furlong has now departed and the likelihood is that Murray will step up, continuing with the players that were U15 in 2020 and U16 this year. Rather than competing as a Cork side, the development squads were divided into regional sides, with Murray as co-ordinator.
Murray has been the Cork senior camogie manager since 2012, leading the county to All-Irelands in 2014, 2015, 2017 and 2018, when a doubled was achieved as he guided the intermediate side to glory, too. The Rebels were defeated in this year’s senior decider by Galway last Sunday week.
Prior to taking the camogie role, Murray was manager of Dohenys, whom he captained to Carbery JAFC glory in 1995. He also played hurling for Cloughduv and St Finbarr’s.
Furlong was preceded as minor manager by Cusack, after county board attempts to install Jimmy Barry-Murphy as boss with Jamie Wall – who had come up with the players through U15 and U16 – as coach failed. Cork lost to Limerick in the Munster semi-final in December 2020 after a fragmented year. Prior to that, John Considine – manager of the 2001 All-Ireland-winning side – was in charge for two years, unlucky to miss out on qualification from the Munster round-robin, falling a point short in 2019 and suffering from an inferior scoring difference in 2018. In 2017, Denis Ring guided the minor side – the last at U18 level – to Munster glory, losing to Galway in the All-Ireland final.
On the minor football side, Michael O’Brien was appointed for a two-year term after Bobbie O’Dwyer moved to a senior football selectorial role at the end of 2020. The Ballincollig man guided Cork to a provincial title – the county’s first since 2010 – and they lost to Tyrone in the All-Ireland semi-final.
O’Brien, manager when Ballincollig won the county SFC in 2014, will look to build on the progress made. Aiding this will be the fact that he worked with next year’s U17s at U14 and U15 levels in 2019 and 2020 respectively.
On the senior football front, moves remain ongoing to find a successor to Ronan McCarthy, whose tenure ended at the beginning of this month, after four years in charge. The county board have taken the step of inviting applications, with candidates asked to include a brief CV. These are to be emailed to county board secretary/CEO Kevin O’Donovan at firstname.lastname@example.org before 5pm this Friday, September 24.
O’Dwyer, who managed Cork to win the All-Ireland MFC for the first time in 19 years in 2019, has been mentioned as a possible successor while John Fintan Daly is also in with a shout, especially after taking Knocknagree from junior A to senior A in the space of four years.
U20 boss Keith Ricken is not thought to be interested in the senior role while Ephie Fitzgerald and John Cleary are in contention for the senior ladies’ football job. Fitzgerald’s term as manager ended after the All-Ireland semi-final defeat to eventual champions Meath but his wish is to remain. Shane Ronayne, the Waterford senior football manager, led Mourneabbey to county, Munster and All-Ireland glory in the recent past and he too is in the mix for the Cork ladies’ job.