DONAL O’Mahony is set to succeed Pat Ryan as the Cork U20 hurling manager.
Last week, Cork County Board announced that Sarsfields clubman Ryan had opted to step down after leading the county to the 2020 and 2021 All-Ireland titles, ending a wait dating back to 1998. O’Mahony was a key member of the successful backroom team, operating as coach, and he was among the front-runners in the immediate wake of Ryan’s decision, with Noel Furlong – who guided Cork to a first All-Ireland minor title since 2001 – also in contention.
With eight of the starting line-up from this year’s All-Ireland final win over Galway underage again for 2022, O’Mahony’s appointment would ensure a level of continuity, with Fergal Condon, Wayne Sherlock and Brendan Coleman remaining as selectors along with one new addition.
Previously, the Bishopstown man – who played in goal for Cork in the 1990 All-Ireland minor hurling final and was outfield as the Munster U21 title was claimed in 1993 – served as part of John Meyler’s management teams at U21 and then senior level, including the 2018 Munster hurling title win.
He has also been instrumental in Christian Brothers College re-establishing themselves as a force in Munster post-primary schools hurling, with Christians reaching the Dr Harty Cup final in both 2019 and 2020.
With former Cork camogie manager Paudie Murray set to be named as new minor hurling manager, candidates for his backroom are emerging. His brother Kevin, who has played a big part in the camogie success as well as coaching UCC to win the 2011 county SFC, is likely to be involved while Fergal McCormack, Declan Fitzgerald and Fergal Ryan are also possibilities.
Murray’s appointment is in keeping with the new method whereby management teams bring development squads through to minor level. He was in charge of U16 operations this year, as Furlong was in 2019.
To that end, former Cork captain Kieran ‘Fraggie’ Murphy of Sarsfields is set to be named as the U16 manager for 2022, before then transitioning to the minor role for 2023.
Murphy was previously involved in John Meyler's senior set-up in 2018 and '19, as was Donal O'Mahony, before going in with Donal Óg Cusack and the Cork minors in 2020. Having been Sars intermediate coach last year, Murphy was with Waterford club Abbeyside this season.