Cuthbert to guide Cork football fortunes

Brian Cuthbert has been appointed the new Cork senior football manager on a two-year term.

At last night’s county board meeting in Páirc Uí Chaoimh, the name of Bishopstown’s Cuthbert was proposed by the sub-committee charged with finding a successor to Conor Counihan and unanimously passed.

Cuthbert, a selector this year, had been a front-runner to take the job ever since Counihan stepped down following the All-Ireland SFC quarter-final loss to Dublin, along with former Cork U21 manager John Cleary.

When Castlehaven delegate Michael Maguire – a clubmate of Cleary – asked board chairman Bob Ryan what the strategy of the committee had been in coming to a decision, Ryan declined to comment on the process, saying the workings of the committee were confidential, and also criticised media reports in recent days.

Cuthbert will appoint his selectors in due course.

A new county U21 hurling manager was also appointed last night, with Pat Kenneally (Newcestown) replacing Ger Fitzgerald.

Kenneally, who captained the county in 1995, had been the Cork minor manager for the past two years. St Finbarr’s clubman John Hodgins will be coach, while Alan Browne (Blackrock), Damien Irwin (Killeagh) and Ger O’Halloran (Ballinhassig) are the new selectors. A new minor manager to replace Kenneally will be appointed at a later date.

The question of championship formats for the next two years was also on the agenda at the meeting, after clubs had been asked to submit suggestions.

“While we all recognise the issue of the gap between the first and fourth rounds, there is no easy way around it, apart from eliminating the third round,” Ryan said.

Following a proposal from the Competitions Control Committee (CCC), a vote to retain the current system in principle was passed by a margin of 116-15. A second vote, on whether to retain the third round (i.e. second loser’s round) was carried 93-40.

A motion from Ballinhassig’s Donal Coleman which sought to increase the SHC to 18 clubs – with Ballinhassig’s relegation effectively reversed and the two Premier IHC finalists added – was not discussed. Secretary Frank Murphy said that relegation for 2012 and ’13 had been agreed upon two years ago and any such motions would not be in order.

The most recent Central Council proposal to run a 12-team National Hurling League Division 1 with two groups of six teams was supported. St Nicholas delegate Finbarr McCarthy, who formally proposed the motion, said that the previous suggestion to increase Division 1A to eight teams gained support as it would provide better quality games and there was no reason not to support this.

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