THE news that Keith Ricken has been appointed the new manager of the Cork senior football team has been greeted with much enthusiasm from players and officials throughout the county.
The new Cork senior football manager has enjoyed a distinguished coaching career with a number of different teams. He managed his home club, St Vincent’s, to Cork intermediate county titles in 2006 and 2012. In recent years, he managed the Cork U20 footballers to All-Ireland final glory.
A GAA Development Officer at Munster Technological University, Ricken guided the CIT senior football team to Sigerson Cup success in 2009. Castlehaven club player Seanie Cahalane was a key figure on that CIT team. He is thrilled his old manager has been rewarded for his strong track record in Cork football.
“I was delighted when I heard he was getting the job. Keith is a gentleman. He has done great work at underage level in Cork and he has a great record for developing players. It is fantastic that’s he getting a crack at the top job,” he said.
That CIT team who won the Sigerson Cup was a star-studded team with a number of emerging Cork footballers central to their success.
Cahalane said all the players improved hugely from working closely with their former college trainer.
“I always found him to be a great motivator and very good to work with.
"I can’t speak highly enough of Keith.”
The forward, who captained Castlehaven to senior county final glory in 2012 and 2013, has great memories of his era playing for CIT and winning the Sigerson Cup in 2009. “We had a very strong team the year we won it. We were lucky that the Sigerson weekend was actually played in the CIT grounds that year so home advantage was a big boost to us. We beat one of the competition favourites DCU in the quarter-final. Keith did a great job in keeping us grounded going into the finals weekend.”
The new Cork senior football manager has assembled a very strong management team. He has chosen former Cork senior footballer James Loughrey, Ray Keane, who managed St Finbarr’s to a Cork SFC title in 2018, former Cork senior footballer Micheál Ó Cróinín from Naomh Abán, Barry Corkery from the Éire Óg club and Des Cullinane from St Nicholas.
Castlehaven club man John Cleary who has a proven track record with the Cork ladies underage footballers and with his own club has been appointed as coach.
"It looks like a great set-up. John is an excellent coach. His track record speaks for itself. It is brilliant to see him involved as well. There are loads of talented footballers in Cork, so no doubt this management team will bring out the best in them.”
The chairperson of the St Vincent’s GAA Club, Thomas Gould, paid tribute to his club colleague for the success he has achieved with so many different teams.
“I am delighted for Keith, his wife Caroline, and their two children Ava and Max. It is a great honour for Keith to be selected as the Cork senior football manager.
"He has enjoyed great success with a number of different teams. He has had tremendous success with St Vincent’s winning football counties at U16 and in the premier minor grade. He also led the club to two Intermediate football championships in 2006 and 2012. He won CIT’s only Sigerson Cup title in 2009 and an All-Ireland football title with the Cork U20 team in 2019.”
Gould said all within the club are very proud of Keith’s appointment to the Cork senior football manager’s position which represents a historic first time for the northside-based club.
"He has coached every team from U9 Street Leagues to inter-county and everything in between. He is currently part of the management team with the St Vincent’s junior camogie team.”
He feels Ricken's ability to establish a rapport with the players and his positivity are key attributes that have enabled him to enjoy so much coaching success.
“His best traits are player-management and his ability to connect with players as individuals. He strives for success but not at all costs. He believes in building the individual as well as the team overall and that’s one of the reasons he is so well-liked and respected.
"He has an unbelievable passion for the sport and the positive influence the sport has on the individual, the club, and the community. He is a very witty man, but most of all he is a man who will be honest, genuine, and realistic.”
That can help him get the most out of the Rebels.
“There is no doubt that he has a very big job ahead of him. If anyone can get the best out of the team it will be Keith. He has a great backroom team around him. On behalf of everyone in our club and community we wish Keith the very best of luck in his new role.”