CORK manager John Cleary has confirmed that Ray Keane has stepped down as a selector, citing business and family reasons for his decision.
“Ray told us during the week that he would be unable to commit and just couldn’t make it work,” Cleary told The Echo. “Ray has his own business.
“We’re very sorry to lose him, though Ray offered to do any background work for us during the year. We’re not sure about replacing him. We’ll have a think about it.”
Cork qualified to meet Limerick in the final after the Shannonsiders topped the other group on scoring difference following a draw against Tipperary on Saturday.
“We’re happy to be in the final and have a third game with the league only a fortnight away,” said Cleary. “Our panel is big enough.
“The final is fixed for Wednesday, but whether it’s moved to the weekend, I don’t know. The Sigerson is on Tuesday and Wednesday, so we may have to play without those players.
“The weekend would probably be better, but whatever it is, we’ll take it. I was pleased with the way we didn’t panic, and to concede only eight points in 70 minutes is also pleasing.
At times we put them under pressure and I thought we took our goal chances really well. Steven and Chris were clinical in their finishing.
“The changes we made to the team from the Kerry game weren’t forced. We’re conscious of fellows playing Sigerson during the week, and there is a lot of them, so we couldn’t keep them all off.
“It’s all geared for the start of the league, and as I’ve said, we’re going to need a big panel because it’s going to be week after week in both league and championship. If you pick up injuries, you’re going to need guys to step up.
“We played against the wind in the first half, and they missed some scores and we missed scores as well.
“It’s only January yet, and we’re a work in progress. I don’t think either of the two teams were firing on all cylinders. We played well against Kerry, but we knew coming up here would be a different kettle of fish, and it was.
“You had difficult conditions and Clare set up differently to maybe the way Kerry would, but we kept at it and got there in the end.
“The idea of these pre-season competitions is to try and blood players and look at different systems, which is what we’re doing at the moment. Winning builds confidence.”
It was the first of three games against Clare, with the next in the league before their April championship meeting, both in Ennis.