Following Graham Canty’s retirement, new Cork manager Brian Cuthbert has opted to promote Shields from the role of vice-captain.
The St Finbarr’s club man led Cork for the 2010 All-Ireland final when Canty started as a substitute due to injury. He also skippered the Rebels to victory in the 2012 Munster final against Clare and lifted the league trophy in 2011 and ’12 following wins over Dublin and Mayo.
Aged 27, Shields is one of only two survivors, along with Donncha O’Connor, from the team which started the 2007 All-Ireland final against Kerry and Cuthbert feels he was the natural choice for the job.
“Michael has a lot of experience playing for Cork and he’s ready to lead the group. I think he’ll be very good in the role.”
Along with Canty, Paudie Kissane, Alan Quirke, Noel O’Leary and Pearse O’Neill have retired in recent weeks, while Ciarán Sheehan has joined AFL side Carlton Blues.
A number of players from this year’s U21 team, among them David Hanrahan, Conor Dorman, Alan Cronin, Brian O’Driscoll, Alan Cadogan and Cathal Vaughan, are likely to be given chances to impress, and Cuthbert has emphasised the vacancies created by the retirements leave chances for others.
“Five have retired and with Ciarán’s news it’s six. If I was 19 or 20 and I saw movement like that I’d be saying ‘there’s a great opportunity here’.