Jack O'Connor is back in Kerry but who will be the new Cork boss?

Deadline has passed for applications for Rebel manager, with the idea they will be appointed by October 5
Jack O'Connor is back in Kerry but who will be the new Cork boss?

Cork captain Ian Maguire, seen here against Darragh Treacy of Limerick during this season's Munster semi-final, awaits news of the next manager's appointment. Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

YESTERDAY was the last day of applications for the vacant post of Cork senior football manager.

On Friday night, Jack O'Connor was given the key to the Kingdom for the third time, replacing Peter Keane as Kerry bainisteoir. In Cork, we've to wait another few weeks yet.

Picture: Sportsfile.
Picture: Sportsfile.

The plan is to be in a position to name Ronan McCarthy’s successor in time for the next county board meeting on October 5, but that’s not set in stone because who knows what those next few weeks will throw up?

The fact that the board have invited applications for the position is in itself a new departure of sorts because, traditionally, it was nearly always done by an approach to individuals.

Not everyone is going to be happy with the selection but at least, board officers can confidently say: ‘we did ask for applications and here’s what we got.’

There’s little to be gained by critics scattering names if they didn’t apply in the first instance.

Anyway, whoever is tasked with the job will become the fourth manager in nine seasons following in the footsteps of Brian Cuthbert, 2014-15, Peadar Healy, 2016-17, and McCarthy, who took over in 2018 and stepped aside recently.

What’s striking about all this is the actual number of people who’ve held the position in such a short time span, begging the obvious question of how are you going to get stability and continuity with so many upheavels?

The answer is, with great difficulty, which makes it even more important that the right man with the right management team, first of all, are appointed and then given enough time to implement their plans.

It’s almost pointless issuing a press release that so-and-so is the new Cork football manager on a three-year term, when everyone knows it’s reviewed annually.

And what happens if Cork suffer another pasting by Kerry next summer, will that trigger more pressing of the panic buttons? The four previous incumbents have one thing in common, a bare sideboard in terms of Munster and All-Ireland success.

Before them, Billy Morgan, who served two terms from 1986 to 1996 and again from 2003-2007, was the most successful with two All-Irelands and eight Munsters.

Larry Tompkins was sandwiched in between and steered Cork to a couple of Munsters before Conor Counihan took over from the ill-fated and brief term of Teddy Holland in 2008.

Cork won an All-Ireland in 2010, three Munsters and a string of leagues under Counihan’s stewardship, but it’s been a barren time since.

Kerry have replaced Peter Keane with Jack O'Connor, after a couple of disappointing campaigns, having reached the All-Ireland final and taken Dublin to a replay in 2019.

In Tipperary David Power was given a vote of confidence despite experiencing a bad year, culminating in relegation to Division 4, the bottom of the ladder, following the defeat by Longford in the play-off.

Power, who managed Tipp to a rare Munster title in 2020, will remain on board for the next three seasons along with former Dublin player Paddy Christie, who doubles up as U20 manager and senior selector.

Tipp reached the Munster U20 final, losing to Cork in Thurles, having overcome Limerick and Waterford en route.

They scored 3-10 in the final which would normally win games, but Cork still prevailed by kicking 10 more points for a 3-20 tally.

Brian Hurley, in action against Alan Campbell of Tipperary during the 2020 Munster final, will have a fifth Cork manager at the helm next season. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile
Brian Hurley, in action against Alan Campbell of Tipperary during the 2020 Munster final, will have a fifth Cork manager at the helm next season. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

There was no knee-jerk reaction in Tipp, who recognised the strides they are making at underage level and understanding the importance of having a link between senior and youth teams in bringing players forward through the system.

You compare Cork’s approach to football to Kilkenny’s equivalent in hurling, where Brian Cody is gearing up for a 24th season, a remarkable statistic.

Of course, it helps, when you’ve won 11 All-Irelands and 17 Leinsters, but, clearly, the fact that the Cats haven’t seen the McCarthy Cup since 2015 didn’t upset anyone unduly.

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