Players defend departing Brian Cuthbert

Cork’s footballers have come out in force to defend Brian Cuthbert, who has stepped down as manager.

Players defend departing Brian Cuthbert

As revealed in the Irish Examiner yesterday, the Bishopstown man informed county board officials he didn’t wish to seek an extension to his two-year term that had elapsed following Saturday’s qualifier defeat to Kildare.

On Twitter, the three O’Driscoll brothers, Colm O’Neill, Eoin Cadogan as well as substitute goalkeeper Paddy O’Shea paid tribute to the commitment shown by Cuthbert and his management during the 2014 and ‘15 seasons.

In a series of posts, Colm O’Driscoll hit back at Cuthbert’s critics and highlighted they were a whisker away from winning a Munster title, but for Pádraig Hughes’ controversial decision to award Kerry a penalty in the drawn game in Killarney.

Thanking Cuthbert and his assistants for their “excellent work”, O’Driscoll tweeted: “I fully believe that they have gathered a good group of players and have done outstanding work with them.

“I also think the criticism the management received in this period is bullshit!! And cowardly from some ppl (people) hiding behind technology!!!

“There was no stone left unturned when it came to preparing for game from the sideline!! As a player I can say that anything I ever asked for as regards help and advice was granted without a problem.

“I’d like to thank Brian and his staff for 2 enjoyable years and wish him luck with his future endeavours! A top class manager who missed out on a munster title because of a poor refereeing decision.”

Colm O’Neill paid tribute to Cuthbert and selectors Ronan McCarthy, Don Davis, Ciaran McCarthy and Owen Sexton. “Huge thanks to Brian and his management team for all the hard work, endless time, and effort they put in over the last 8/9 months”.

Eoin Cadogan wrote: “Best wishes & thanks to Brian & his management team. To a man they put in a huge effort and came in for a lot of unfair criticism. #rebelsabu.”

Describing Cuthbert as a “gent’, Kevin O’Driscoll insisted the management team “can’t be blamed” for the early exit. His sibling Brian commented: “Really enjoyed the two years with them. Massive respect for them. The criticism they received was unjustified as the preparation was always top class. Very disappointed to see them go.”

Ken O’Halloran’s deputy goalkeeper O’Shea tweeted a lengthy message, saying responsibility for the disappointment must lay with the players: “I know Brian and his management will be criticised heavily in and out of the media and I know that goes with the territory and so do they. But in my time on the panel I have to say I enjoyed working with the management and feel they gave everything to the position. I have huge respect for them for the effort they put in and the abuse they had to endure. As a player I feel we should take responsibility too. We were totally prepared in every way going out to play games but we didn’t perform when it mattered so we let the management down. I hope therefor (sic) Brian and his management don’t get too much flack (sic) the next few weeks.”

In a statement on Cork’s official website, Cuthbert emphasised the small differences there are between winning and losing at the pinnacle of Gaelic football. “From being within a few seconds of being crowned Munster champions to making our All-Ireland Championship exit at the hands of Kildare at the weekend has been difficult for me, the players and backroom staff. The short period involved demonstrates the tight margins that exist between success and failure at inter county level.”

Cuthbert also thanked his players, backroom staff as well as the county board for their support.

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