Cork seek new leader as Brian Cuthbert to step down

Cork football manager Brian Cuthbert will not seek re-appointment for a third year at the helm following last weekend’s championship exit at the hands of Kildare.

Cork seek new leader as Brian Cuthbert to step down

The Bishopstown clubman saw his side go down by nine points in Thurles last Saturday night to the Leinster side, just a week after losing to Kerry in the replayed Munster football final.

The unexpected championship exit followed a disappointing NFL final defeat at the hands of Dublin, Cork’s second comprehensive loss to the Dubs in two seasons.

Last year the Rebels let an eight-point half-time lead over Dublin in the NFL semi-final slip and went down to a seven-point loss. Cork’s season never recovered from that collapse.

Cuthbert came in for severe criticism in recent weeks both from his own county and from outside. In mid-June former Kerry player Tomás Ó Sé described Cork as “rudderless enough, to be fair, from management down”.

Former Cork player James Masters then tweeted his support of Ó Sé’s comments: “Just read Tomás Ó Sé article on the Examiner. I totally agree... I think Cuthbert hasn’t the trust of a lot of his players.” Cork officials will now seek a replacement for Cuthbert, though with no competitive games until next year’s McGrath Cup, there is no immediate hurry to appoint a bainisteoir.

Castlehaven’s John Cleary will come into consideration based on his tenure at U21 level with the county, but Cork native Peter Creedon’s success with Tipperary will also put him in the frame.

Creedon recently stepped down as the Premier County’s football manager due to work commitments, but it’s significant that the Rosscarbery man has senior intercounty experience outside Cork.

Ephie Fitzgerald of Nemo Rangers has also coached at the top level, with Clare, and is also available, having stepped down from his post with the Banner County in recent weeks.

Meanwhile, former Cork captain Pat Mulcahy believes that the Rebels have fallen “ten years behind” hurling’s top counties.

Mulcahy, coach of the CIT Fitzgibbon Cup team, insists that there’s a “major problem” on Leeside following the senior team’s exit from the All-Ireland series against Galway on Sunday.

The Newtownshandrum clubman says that a number of questions need to be answered by Cork’s top brass.

“The big focus now is on development squads but the question is why are we ten years behind?” he said.

“Why have we not produced? Those are questions I would like to see answered.

“Donal Óg Cusack [speaking on The Sunday Game] has some very valid points but I don’t know if development squads will answer those questions.

“This year is the first year that the minors had a product from development squads at U14, U15, and U16, and the Cork County Board has been championing that quite a bit but why didn’t we have this a decade ago?

“Cork have always been strong traditionally but why aren’t we at the cutting edge now?

“We have over 240 clubs in the county, Limerick have somewhere in the region of 80, and Clare have 60, so why are we so far behind given the size of the county?

“I was at the Cork-Limerick minor match [Munster semi-final] and while we were unlucky, we can’t be unlucky every year.

“Looking at the stats of the last number of years [as presented by Cusack on The Sunday Game] doesn’t reflect well.

“We won a pile of Munster minor championships between 1964 and 1977 [11 in total with six All-Irelands] and as a result we won three-in-a-row All-Ireland senior titles in the late ’70s.

“We also won All-Ireland minor titles in 1995, 1998, and 2001, and that led to a senior title in ’99 and four All-Ireland finals from 2003-2006. Success at senior level follows on, if you look at the history books.”

Meanwhile, 2010 All-Ireland football medallist Derek Kavanagh has insisted that losing to teams that “aren’t contenders themselves” represented a “poor” weekend for Cork’s senior football and hurling teams.

The Nemo Rangers man said: “It was poor, losing so heavily to two teams that aren’t contenders themselves.

“I can’t see Galway [hurlers] winning an All-Ireland I can’t see Kildare getting past a quarter-final.”

Kavanagh insists the tide can turn at underage level, citing football and hurling development squads as sources of hope. “I’m actually involved with the Rebel Óg development squads, the U16 manager.

“Diarmuid O’Sullivan is the U16 hurling manager and there have been enormous strides.

“It’s exceptionally well organised because they got the right administrator involved [Kevin O’Donovan] and he’s everything the county board is not.

“This guy has vision, he’s the right guy, he knows what needs to happen and he’s making it happen.

“But the one common complaint, and he acknowledged it himself and it’s what Donal Óg touched on last year, is that we have no venue.

“We’ve got six coaches, 30 top class players, but it’s a three-hour ordeal to train,” Kavanagh said.

“We’re ringing around clubs asking them can we train here and there when there should be ten pitches at Páirc Uí Chaoimh.

“Cork, with all the money in the county board, should have a training base for the underage hurling and senior hurling and football teams.

“There will be one training pitch in ‘The Park’ (Páirc Uí Chaoimh) but the senior footballers and hurlers will still be fighting over who gets to use The Park.

“The redevelopment of The Park is great but shortsighted. They’re not looking into youth development enough,” Kavanagh said.

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