The manager was speaking at the launch of Lucozade Sport as sports drinks sponsor of Cork GAA and responded to questions about speculation on Leeside that all was not well in the senior hurling setup with a number of players, including Eoin Cadogan, opting to play exclusively with the footballers in 2013.
“There was a question about the elephant in the room and there being unrest in the camp. There’s certainly no unrest in the camp where the playing personnel are concerned.
“The whole atmosphere around our team and our back-room and training and the way it’s going is excellent and morale is first class.
“I think people in Cork are entitled to be demanding of the team and they’re entitled to ask questions about why players are opting for one game over the other.
“I have no problem answering questions in relation to that and I will answer questions as honestly as I can.
“But I would just like people to be more appreciative of the fact that it’s a difficult job and we’d like to be more successful at underage level. Is it a help that players win minor and U21 All-Irelands? I suppose it’s debatable. If we can get some players from the minor and U21 teams of the last couple of years and make the jump up, which I think we can do, that’ll help.”
The manager, himself an All-Ireland winner in senior hurling and football, said he had “no problem with players picking football over hurling.”
“I had to make a choice myself one time although the scenario was completely different. Every player is an individual and makes up his own mind. We think we have a fantastic set-up in the hurling camp, a very professional set-up.
“Training is going fantastic, we have a number of players coming into the panel and a number coming back to the panel after being left out last year, and we’re very pleased with the attitude so far.
“We have a number of players who would feel they didn’t get opportunities last year, we’ve discussed that with them and they’ll be getting an extended opportunity this year to stake a claim for a place.”
Meanwhile Cork County Board chairman Bob Ryan said there was “no issue” with Lucozade Sport being the sports drink partner rather than Club Energise, the official sports drink of the Gaelic Players Association.
“No, there’s no issue. This is a fresh start with Lucozade. Any issues with the past, with the GPA’s contract with Club Energise, were resolved quite a while back.”
Ryan said Cork were “not in a position” to close the deal on a main sponsor yet, however: “We’re in discussions with a number of different companies but as of now we’re not in a position to close the deal.
“We’re waiting to see what the best deal we can get the county is. The environment is a challenging one. Everyone is looking for more for less. We’ll just have to continue and negotiate as best we can.”