Tony Leen on the key details from the new vision for Cork football.
A new strategy, a new direction for Cork football.
One that builds from the ground up — primary schools through second level, proper club structures and competitions, a uniform coaching mechanism, full-time appointments to support and nurture such processes.
All seems pretty obvious, right? Getting ducks in a row shouldn’t be that hard?
Cork football has been at a competitive disadvantage for too long, primarily because the focus on best practice hasn’t been full.
The county’s passion for hurling is an issue, but shouldn’t be a suffocating one. As Brian Cuthbert said, time to draw a line in the sand.
Because if it isn’t quite hopelessness, Cork football’s self-esteem is pretty low.
They’ve beaten next to nobody in championship in the past five years, and the project is crying out for direction.
A new beginning with a sustainable foundation. “At a low ebb,” said Graham Canty.
“We need a complete culture shift if Cork football is to be successful,” admitted County Board chair Tracey Kennedy.
This strategy is reaching out to every stakeholder. From schools to clubs to players and especially to the Cork GAA public.
“Recent lack of success on the football field, or more accurately a lack of even the hope of success, has led to a rise in apathy amongst our supporters,” said Kennedy, “perhaps as a means of lessening the pain of constant defeat. (Like it’s) if we don’t care, it can’t hurt us.”
The plan is over five years, but each strategy contained therein is on a clock. It has a time plan and an overall (paid) project co-ordinator who will ensure that targets are met.
So first priorities, the things that should be visible almost immediately, are appointments such as a high-performance director, which the board plan to advertise for next month, if the plan gets the go-ahead from the clubs at a board meeting on January 29.
Cork aren’t saying. How can we, explained Kennedy, without compromising the negotiating hand on salaries.
The main costs will be those key appointments, and Kennedy confirmed Cork GAA, and not Croke Park, will be writing the cheques. That high-performance director, who will be the overarching lead on S&C for all inter-county teams, is a key post and could be expected to cost north of €70,000 a year.
“The future starts now,” said Brian Cuthbert yesterday. As soon as the full board says go, the Football Review Group want to start putting people in place. This isn’t a quick fix. This is chewing an elephant one bit at a time. But the key is engagement from everyone.
“Club managers are crying out for structure as well,” said Graham Canty. “If they have that, they can offer something to the players that they are interested in. When the players are interested, you get buy-in, and when you get enjoyment you get more of a positive playing experience. You can get rid of the apathy and raise the standards in the whole county.”