Ricken set to get seal of approval from county board delegates tonight

Cork's new football manager is already busy, keeping an eye on players in the club championships
Ricken set to get seal of approval from county board delegates tonight

31st October 2021.... Cork senior football manager Keith Ricken watches Duhallow against Clonakilty in the Bon Secours Cork PSFC quarter final at Pairc Ui Chaoimh. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

KEITH RICKEN'S appointment as the new Cork football manager will be ratified at an in-person county board meeting at Pairc Ui Chaoimh tonight.

He, along with selectors Micheal O Cronin (Naomh Aban), Ray Keane (Munster Technology University/St Finbarr’s), James Loughrey (Mallow), Barry Corkery (Eire Og) and Des Cullinane (St Nick’s), will get the thumbs up from delegates on a two-year term.

Castlehaven’s John Cleary has already been announced as the new coach and while the appointment of the Cork football manager has proved problematic on the odd occasion, no curve balls are expected to be lobbed in around the square on this occasion.

The meeting is also expected to confirm the new U20 manager with Bobbie O’Dwyer the favourite to take over from Ricken in that important role.

The Beara-native guided Cork to the 2019 All-Ireland minor title and that group of U17s is set to backbone next season’s team in the higher age group.

One of Ricken’s first tasks will be to cast an eye over emerging talent in the concluding stages of Bon Secours county championships across the four main grades.

And like everyone else, he’s sure to be licking his lips at the premier senior semi-final between St Finbarr’s and Castlehaven the weekend after next.

It’s a repeat of their dramatic tie at the same stage in 2020, when the Haven’s captain Mark Collins kept his composure to slot the winning penalty in the shoot-out, which went to sudden-death.

Now, the pair square up again after Clonakilty’s one-point win over Duhallow meant a reshuffle of the pack because they couldn’t meet the ‘Barr’s again, having played only just over a fortnight ago in the group phase.

Competition regulations rule out any repeat games so the Barr’s, as second seeds were paired with the Haven as third seeds while top ranked Douglas meet fourth seeded Clon.

It’s a great opportunity for players outside the existing Cork panel to showcase their talents, notably Steven Sherlock, who increased his tally to 1-24 with 0-10 against Eire Og.

The ‘Barr’s sharp-shooter was involved with Cork in the past and this is the ideal auditioning arena to impress Ricken and co.

And you’d wonder is Damien Cahalane likely to be part of the new football squad in 2022?

The Castlehaven powerhouse is the type of defender required to add more steel at the back and could he swap hurling for football next season?

One aspect everyone will be hoping for an improvement in is the weather, which was at its foulest on Sunday.

The wind blew almost gale-force from the city end of Pairc Ui Chaoimh and was accompanied by drenching rain though the pitch stood up remarkably well.

It affected teams’ tactics as the Haven manager James McCarthy explained after his side’s win over Valley Rovers.

“We had to alter our plans 100 per cent because of the weather,” he said.

“We didn’t think it would be as bad and at times it is hard to play with a gale of wind at your back against massed defences.” 

Both the Haven and ‘Barr’s panels have strengthened since last season and while the city club will miss the suspended Brian Hayes, Cillian Myers-Murray is expected to be fit again.

Meanwhile, a new-look Corn Ui Mhuiri (Munster Post-Primary Schools SFC), starts tomorrow.

Instead of groups, teams will play first round games with the losers getting a second chance in a knock-out style competition.

Recent county minor champions St Finbarr’s will be well represented in the Colaiste Chriost Ri-Clonakilty CC tie.

The semi-final pairings are: PSFC: Castlehaven v St Finbarr’s and Douglas v Clonakilty.

SAFC: St Michael’s v Dohenys and Mallow v Ballingeary.

PIFC: Kanturk v Aghada and Cill na Martra v Newmarket.

IAFC: Aghabullogue v Iveleary and Kilshannig v Mitchelstown.

Corn Ui Mhuiri fixtures: Tomorrow (all 1.30): Clonakilty CC v Colaiste Chriost Ri, Clonakilty GAA Grounds; Hamilton High School v Colaiste Choilm, Bandon, Bandon GAA Grounds; Colaiste na Sceilge v Skibbereen CS, Kenmare.

Corn Ui Nuanain (U19B): Coachford College v Abbey CBS, Carrigadrohid; JTBCS Hospital v Patrician Academy, Mallow, Hospital; Mitchelstown CBS v St Colman’s, Fermoy, Mitchelstown GAA Grounds; Midleton CBS v Mount St Michael, Rosscarbery, Midleton GAA Grounds; Colaiste Spioraid Naoimh v Presentation Milltown, Bishopstown GAA Grounds.

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