With new Cork senior football manager Ronan McCarthy being introduced to the media last Monday, attention on Leeside now turns to the replacement for outgoing hurling boss Kieran Kingston.
It’s expected that an announcement will be made in the coming days, with John Meyler, outgoing Cork U21 manager and a senior selector under Kingston last season, in pole position to take over. With other 2017 selectors Pat Ryan and Diarmuid O’Sullivan ruling themselves out of contention Meyler — whose son David captained the Republic of Ireland side to that dramatic World Cup qualifier win over Wales last Monday night — is the most qualified candidate remaining.
He was involved with the Cork seniors as a selector as far back as 2002, has stints as manager with Kerry, Wexford, and Carlow on his CV and has coached extensively at club level in the Rebel County.
Former Cork hurling captain Kieran ‘Fraggy’ Murphy of Sarsfields — a Cork U21 selector this year — is viewed as a likely selector if Meyler becomes manager. It’s understood the Cork players themselves are strongly in favour of the retention of the services of Gary Keegan and Declan O’Sullivan for next year.
Outgoing manager Kingston recruited Keegan, formerly director of the Irish Institute of Sport and high-performance director with the Irish Amateur Boxing Association’s boxing programme. Keegan has also been involved with the Dublin footballers’ recent successes, while O’Sullivan, who has been the Cork physio for many years, doubled up as the team’s strength and conditioning coach this year.
Kingston also gave Meyler a slightly different role this year, with the St Finbarr’s clubman liaising between a youthful senior team and the U21 side he steered to the Munster final (where eventual All-Ireland champions Limerick beat Cork).
It’s likely that outgoing minor selector Denis Ring, whose side got to the All-Ireland final last month where they were beaten by Galway, will come into consideration for the U21 position if Meyler moves up, but if Cork follow the same template as they did last season then Ring may also become a senior selector, as Meyler did last year.
This in turn creates a vacancy at minor level, with former Cork minor boss — and interim senior manager in 2009 — John Considine a strong contender to take the reins at minor level: Considine managed the Cork U17s to the inaugural All-Ireland title at that grade this year.
The raft of new appointments which are likely will also give Rebel officials an opportunity to involve new coaches at various levels of intercounty hurling.
For instance, Pat Mulcahy, who starred with Cork in the 2000s as the Rebels won two All-Ireland senior titles, is on the county board’s radar as a result of his work with Cork Institute of Technology. Two other prime candidates are Richie Kelleher and Ian Lynam, two of the men who steered Glen Rovers to three county finals in a row, winning two, and their fellow clubman Liam Martin, who was a Cork minor selector this year.
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