The former Kilkenny selector, who worked alongside Brian Cody in winning six All-Ireland SHC titles, was yesterday revealed as the first person to fill the role, a recommendation set out by the Liam Sheedy-led Hurling 2020 group in early 2015. Based in Croke Park, Castlecomer man Fogarty will have specific responsibility for the development of hurling in Antrim, Carlow, Laois, Offaly, and Westmeath.
Last month, Cork’s coaching officer Kevin O’Donovan suggested at a county board meeting following the Munster SHC quarter-final defeat to Tipperary that hurling in the county was in crisis.
However, Fogarty begs to differ.
“There is no crisis in Cork. There is a huge amount of hurling being played there. Just because a senior county team is a bit unsettled and loses a few games, doesn’t mean that suddenly there is a crisis. Every team gets beaten. There is a huge amount of hurling being played in Cork and I wouldn’t judge the state of hurling in a county by the results of a county team.
“Only one county is going to win the All-Ireland, but does that mean there is a crisis in the other 31 counties? It’s the same in football. Just because Dublin are so dominant, does that mean there is a crisis in the rest of the counties? Of course, it doesn’t.
“I know there are counties where there is a huge amount of hurling being played, but they never have a hope of winning the All-Ireland. My challenge now is to get as many people as humanly possible to play hurling.”
Prior to his appointment, Fogarty hosted workshops in traditional and developing hurling counties. He coached Westmeath under Brian Hanley two seasons ago, managed Kilcormac-Killoughey in Offaly and devised a strategic plan for hurling in the Faithful County.
“So many people, including myself, have been privileged to be asked to give a help-out in counties. I would have a good idea of what’s going on, and what’s happening is good. I’ll go where I can help out.”
Making the announcement, GAA president Aogán Ó Fearghail revealed Fogarty’s brief will be focused on putting together plans for counties.
“He’s not going to be shackled and told what he can or cannot do. He will look at all of that and, if Martin has a particular idea in that area, then we will support that. I have no doubt he will be focusing on a lot of the counties, particularly in the Christy Ring Cup, I would suggest, initially.”
He added: “I believe one man can make an awful lot of difference to a lot of things in the world, and I think the director of hurling will be no different. There’s none there at the moment. When you move from that position to having one, I don’t want to put too much expectation on his shoulders, but I have no doubt he will make a difference.”