Cork GAA: New appointments have impressed hurling and football fans

Cork County Board deserves credit for bringing fresh and exciting coaches and selectors into the mix
Cork GAA: New appointments have impressed hurling and football fans

Football legend Billy Morgan who was inducted into the Kick Fada Hall of Fame at the GAA Museum in Croke Park. Picture: Brendan Moran/SPORTSFILE

EVERY time a manager or managerial team is picked or put together it constitutes a gamble.

There are simply no guarantees that you are going to get it right when grouping a bunch of individuals together. The chemistry might not work between the different characters, or it might be the case that you only discover after the fact that you appointed the wrong man, or men, for the job. It happens, and quite regularly at that. 

Even the greatest soccer teams on the planet get it wrong more often than they get it right when it comes to hiring managers. You just have to look at Manchester United in that regard at the minute.

All you can expect from the folk making such appointments is that they use the best evidence at their disposal to bring in the most qualified people available to them, in order to give the team in question the best possible chance of maximising their potential.

The Cork County Board have to be commended in terms of all of the recent appointments they have made.

It looks, from afar at least, that a great deal of thought and effort went into making all of these appointments. There seem to be no agendas, no favouritism, or 'jobs for the lads'. 

The appointments may not end up working out as hoped, but there can be no denying they were put in place in good faith.

As County Secretary Kevin O’Donovan has said in the last few days: “There are some incredible people moving on to new pastures. Some incredible people coming in, and incredible people staying on.” 

For example, some of the crew responsible for the two U20 hurling triumphs, and the one minor win, such as Pat Ryan, Wayne Sherlock, Niall McCarthy and Ger O’Regan, have stepped away, while others have come in. In saying that, you would hope that we have not seen the last of these individuals’ involvement with Cork teams and that they will be seen patrolling Rebel sidelines sometime again in the near future.

The appointment of Furlong as the U16 coach in 2020 certainly proved to be a brilliant move, with players and management all singing from the same hymn sheet this year at minor level as they carved their way to All-Ireland glory with relative ease.

Former Carrigtwohill defender Noel Furlong is now a Cork hurling selector. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Former Carrigtwohill defender Noel Furlong is now a Cork hurling selector. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

The hope would be that former camogie boss Paudie Murray, assisted by his brother Kevin who won an All-Ireland with Cork back in 1999, will be able to move as seamlessly from the U16s into the job as Furlong did. Sars' Fraggie Murphy will be looking to do the same next year, as the 2022 U16 boss. 

Furlong has stepped up from the minor hot seat to the role of selector at senior level, with the aim that, along with Pat Mulcahy, fresh ideas will spark the seniors by the time they face Limerick in the opening game in the championship at Páirc Úi Chaoimh.

While Pat Ryan and Wayne Sherlock will be huge losses at U20 level Donal O’Mahony, a selector in the two-in-a-row sides of this year, is the new bainisteoir, and Fergal Condon and Brendan Coleman also remain on within the current set-up, with Tom Kenny and Traolach Martin introduced.

There is a genuine air of excitement regarding the football managerial appointments too.

All-Ireland U20 winning manager Keith Ricken is obviously the new senior supremo, while another former All-Ireland U21 winning manager John Cleary is on board, in what looks an interesting development, with the expertise of Ray Keane, Micheál Ó Cróinín, Des Cullinane, James Loughrey and Barry Corkery making up what looks on paper an impressive managerial ticket.

Former All-Ireland minor winning manager Bobbie O’Dwyer is the new U20 boss, with the legendary Billy Morgan being part of his backroom staff. The players they will oversee will have no memory of the last time Morgan was in charge of the Cork seniors in the noughties, nevermind his heyday of the '80s and early '90s, but to have Mr Cork Football within the set-up can only be a positive, and the likes of James Masters, Ollie O’Sullivan and Kieran Cronin can only learn from the Nemo maestro over the course of the year, which can be no bad thing.

Only time will tell as to whether these managerial tickets end up being successful, but they will certainly all start from a position of positivity, which has not always been the case with Cork GAA managerial teams.

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