'Worrying' rise of Cork youngsters putting county over club

Picture: Ray McManus/Sportsfile

Young inter-county players making themselves unavailable for club games is a “very, very worrying” development, according to Cork county board chairperson Tracey Kennedy.

Kennedy made the comments at Tuesday’s county board meeting after Ballygarvan delegate Dan O’Mahony recalled a recent minor league game in the county where one team fielded only 13 players, while their two county minors, who did not tog, watched on from the sideline.

Kennedy said she doubted very much the two players in question had been instructed by Cork management not to line out for their club. Kennedy told the meeting young inter-county players have, on occasion, taken the decision to make themselves unavailable for club action.

“Generally, when situations like that are brought to my attention and I investigate them, I do discover that it wasn’t that they were told [by management] not to play. Unfortunately, players sometimes make these decisions for themselves. However, that is a very, very worrying situation,” said Kennedy.

She said player-education, as is provided for in the five-year Cork football plan, is vital to ensure young players refusing to line out for their club so as to mind themselves for inter-county fare does not become commonplace.

“The football plan covers both codes in terms of coach-education and player-development so that players know we want them to play for their clubs, so they know their inter-county managers want them to play for their clubs.

The club must come first. That is something that concerns us and is something we are seeking to address over the next couple of years.

St Michael’s delegate Frank O’Connell expressed his belief that underage dual players are being discouraged from pursuing both codes at inter-county level.

“As a county, our policy is to have dual players but I am aware that there are different views on that,” replied Kennedy. “These are things we will have to look to address when we look at our player development pathway and when we look at our coach education system.”

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