Ger Lane: Replacing Peadar Healy is top priority

Cork GAA chiefs intend to replace outgoing senior football boss Peadar Healy with a coach rather than a manager.
Ger Lane: Replacing Peadar Healy is top priority

County Board chairman Ger Lane has revealed that finding a coach is their top priority, an appointment he hopes will be made “sooner rather than later”.

John Considine and John Meyler, when charged with overseeing the Cork U17 and U21 hurlers for 2017, were brought in as coaches and not as managers. This approach is now set to dictate who fills the void left by Healy.

“I think the manager has to be a coach who can coach the team,” Lane told the Irish Examiner.

“John Meyler and John Considine came in as coaches. It was something we thought was worthwhile at the time and it is a road we might now take with the football. The manager is the manager, but we feel the coach is the key person, really.”

Former Kerry footballer Tomás Ó Sé suggested on RTÉ’s The Sunday Game that, in the past, not enough scrutiny was given to the managerial appointment process in Cork. Ó Sé said: “Too often in Cork, it’s a case of, ‘Oh, who wants the job? Yeah, I’ll take it’. No. That’s not good enough. They actually need to nail this. They need to get it right.”

Lane took umbrage with this portrayal, labelling it as factually incorrect.

“I certainly couldn’t agree with that at all. There was a long process went through the last time in terms of getting a manager in, a very long process, actually. I’m not going to divulge the secrets of that, but it certainly wasn’t a case of someone put their hand up and we appointed them.” Among those in the frame to succeed Healy — he resigned on Saturday evening after Cork’s one-point extra-time defeat to Mayo in the All-Ireland SFC qualifiers — are former Cork selector Ronan McCarthy, former Cork U21 football boss Sean Hayes and current Cork ladies football manager Ephie Fitzgerald. Billy Morgan has also been mentioned. The board chairman refused to be drawn on the perceived front-runners.

“There is speculation in the media. I’m not going to add or subtract from that. It is all media speculation at this stage.”

Two and a half months was the period of time between Brian Cuthbert tendering his resignation late in July of 2015 and Peadar Healy being unveiled as his successor. Lane is hopeful for a swifter turnaround on this occasion. Both Healy and Cuthbert reigned for no more than two seasons, highlighting Cork’s struggles to make an impact at the business end of the championship. Not since 2012 has the county been seen in an All-Ireland semi-final, while they’ve now fallen at the fourth round qualifier hurdle for the past three years.

“It is a results business and the results didn’t go our way,” said Lane of Healy’s two-year term.

“We would like to acknowledge the work Peadar and his committee did, but, unfortunately, it didn’t really work out in terms of results.” The chairman added: “We hope to have a process in place before the next county board meeting on August 15 with regard to how we will proceed in getting the right man in. The sooner we put people in charge of Cork football, the better.”

Kerry’s Eamonn Fitzmaurice praised the dignified manner in which Healy exited stage left. Fitzmaurice, acknowledging the level of criticism his Rebel counterpart had been subjected to, said the outgoing manager could have hit back when departing.

“He would have been well entitled to have had a bit of a cut as he was going because he did get a lot of stick.

“He knew it was a tough gig taking it over. He took it over out of duty and love of Cork. He did his best. With that Cork team, they weren’t that far away. They showed last Saturday night how good they can be and that they were going to get even better. In another way, I’m sure Peadar would have loved to have been staying on to continue the good work he has done over the last two years. But it is about results. If you are getting results, people can be giving out all they want. But once you are winning, you can get away with it. If you start losing, the heat will come on for sure.”

Meanwhile, Páirc Uí Chaoimh’s successful hosting of the two All-Ireland SHC quarter-finals, according to Ger Lane, highlighted the venue’s capacity to stage important fixtures at the concluding end of the All-Ireland championships.

“The weekend went well. We’ll have a review and any issues that were there, we’ll try to iron them out for future games. We’ll refuse no games. We’d take the All-Ireland semis if we got them. We’d take semi-final replays given there is history there of them being played outside of Croke Park.

“We’re open for business. That’s the bottom line. Anything that is sent our way, I think we’ve shown we are more than capable of hosting.”

Bonus PaperTalk: Peter McNamara talks to Cork U21 hurling coach John Meyler ahead of Wednesday's Munster final with Limerick.

John discusses his emotional reaction to semi-final victory over Waterford, Cork hurling's renaissance, his love of coaching, sweeper systems and tactics and much more.

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