KEITH Ricken has emerged as the leading contender for the Cork football job, along with John Fintan Daly and Bobbie O'Dwyer.
Ricken has been Cork U20 football manager for the last three seasons, winning two Munsters and one All-Ireland, while impressing supporters with his positivity, both in his pre- and post-match interviews and in the attacking style his teams play with.
What a brilliant interview, from a brilliant man. Keith Ricken, the Cork U20 Manager after a famous win over Kerry. No games, no nonsense- just brilliant pic.twitter.com/gwjmWupQuT— Thomas Niblock (@thomasniblock) July 15, 2021
When Ronan McCarthy departed the position, Ricken was a firm favourite with fans to replace him, but initially, it was believed he wouldn't allow his name to go forward.
However, he is now officially in the mix for the role and will be interviewed next week by the five-person looking after the appointment: county board chairman Marc Sheehan, secretary Kevin O’Donovan, vice-chairman Pat Horgan, Cork GAA director of football Conor Counihan, and development officer Noel O’Callaghan.
Ricken is the GAA officer in CIT, now MTU, and coached them to Sigerson Cup success. He was also to fore with his native St Vincent's in PIFC victories in '06 and 2012, while on the hurling front he guided CIT to the 2011 county final, where they lost to Carrigtwohill.
Ricken now lives in Carrig', and was involved with their hurlers when they made the 2019 SHC semi-final.
Knocknagree's John Fintan Daly confirmed after his club's SAFC win over Bishopstown that he had applied to be the new Cork senior manager, while Bobbie O’Dwyer was a selector with McCarthy, having steered the Cork minors to the 2019 All-Ireland.
Both are strong candidates too, with JFD vastly experienced, including an All-Ireland U21 victory back in 1994. Like Ricken, O'Dwyer has deep knowledge of the young footballers that will need to be integrated into the squad in a period of rebuilding for Cork.
Former Cork U21 manager John Cleary has been linked to the position again as well and had been the man most likely in 2013 before Brian Cuthbert was appointed. In recent seasons, Clearly was involved with Cork ladies football at underage level and was an option to replace Ephie Fitzgerald at senior level before Shane Ronayne was given the green light last Monday.