Cork coup as Gary Keegan joins hurling set-up

Cork hurling manager Kieran Kingston has secured the services of high-performance expert Gary Keegan for the Rebel hurlers, sources have confirmed.

Cork coup as Gary Keegan joins hurling set-up

It is also understood that contrary to recent speculation, Damien Cahalane and Alan Cadogan will play hurling in 2017.

Enlisting Keegan will be seen as a major coup by Kingston, given his reputation both in Ireland and abroad.

Up to September this year Keegan was director of the Irish Institute of Sport, the government agency set up in 2006 to manage and coordinate high-performance sport in Ireland, having joined the organisation in 2008.

However, before that Keegan spent six years as high-performance director with the Irish Amateur Boxing Association’s boxing programme, where he and his team devised a world- class management programme.

The success of the boxing programme in that time is well known - over a six-year period that programme achieved 29 medals at European, World and Olympic level - and was internationally recognised as a leader in its field.

The disappointing showing of the boxing team in the recent Rio Olympics last summer is widely linked to the lack of input from Keegan and Billy Walsh, who left to coach the United States team before the Games.

The Dublin native is widely credited with achieving significant change in the culture of Irish boxing when he joined the IABA and it is understood he will be tasked with a similar role with the Cork hurlers, who were defeated in this year’s championship by Wexford: the Leinster side had not beaten Cork in a championship game in 60 years. The appointment of Keegan is understood to be part of a raft of initiatives being planned to address Cork’s decline in hurling in recent years. Meanwhile, though Aidan Walsh has left the Cork senior hurling panel to rejoin the Rebel footballers, with whom he won an All-Ireland senior football medal in 2010, it is not expected any other hurlers will throw their lot in with Peadar Healy’s side for 2017.

Damien Cahalane has lined out for the Cork senior footballers in the past, while Alan Cadogan hooked up with the football side last summer when the hurlers departed from the championship, leading to speculation that those two players would join Walsh in playing football next season.

However, it’s understood that both will play hurling next year.

More in this section

Sport Newsletter

Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up