McCarthy’s appointment was announced yesterday and Counihan, who brought McCarthy in as a Cork senior selector in 2013, said: “Ronan has a good track record with his own club, Douglas, and with Carbery Rangers in last year’s senior championship in Cork.
“We worked together with Cork back in 2013 and he was very impressive, very professional, and dedicated. He was very good to work with.
“Inter-county management can be a hard, thankless job, and I hope that now he’s been appointed he’ll get the time he needs in the new job. Even though he’s been there before, as manager he’ll be under a lot of pressure so he’ll need support and help when it’s needed, I hope that’s forthcoming.”
Cork GAA officials are looking to introduce a different model of management with the appointment of McCarthy as Cork senior football coach.
There was surprise yesterday when McCarthy was named as Cork coach rather than manager — the Douglas man has a three-year term — but officials indicated they’re keen on a rugby-style model for teams on management going forward.
It’s expected that McCarthy will function in a head coach role with Cork at training sessions rather than — as has happened before in Cork and other counties — being appointed as a manager and then appointing somebody else as coach.
Cork County Board chairman Ger Lane expanded on the new approach.
“A three-year term is important, it gives the coach an opportunity to bed in and to do his business over the term. In the last 12 months we’ve made the decision to move away from the term ‘manager’ to coach, because the coach is the important role. In this case I would imagine Ronan will take up the dual role.”
Speaking to Cork’s RedFM, Lane added: “Our policy from here on is that we’ll be appointing coaches as opposed to managers. We did that with the U21 hurlers last year, with John Meyler coming in as manager. That’s going to be our policy going forward. I suppose the coach is the manager, but we’ll be moving away from the term ‘manager’.”
McCarthy is also expected to have an input into the Cork’s U20 team (the U21 grade ceases to exist after this season).
“It’d be our intention that there’ll be some liaison between our U20 and senior teams,” said Lane. “We’ve spoken to Ronan in relation to that and we’d be expecting some announcements in the coming days and weeks in relation to our other teams. We’ll be linking our U20 and senior teams in some shape or form but we need to finalise that.
“Ronan will make his own selection (for selectors), with approval from the board and executive, but the coach has the authority to appoint his own backroom team.”
After the resignation of Peader Healy as manager following Cork’s extra-time defeat by Mayo in July, Cork County Board sources had insisted they would have his replacement in situ before the end of August.
It’s understood that a lengthy list of candidates was whittled down to three to four credible options, and McCarthy accepted the position.
“The experience Ronan has at club and county level made him an ideal choice for this demanding role,” said Lane.
“He has been immersed in club and county football since his playing days ended and is well qualified to take this position.
“Once the executive got approval at the board meeting recently to go ahead with appointments we set about our task immediately. Once we came to a decision we were happy to announce it, as the sooner you have an appointment like this, the better.
“In times past we have maybe had these appointments drag on for too long, and with county championships now in full swing, it gives players an opportunity, and the coach can see players and prepare for the season ahead.”
A former Cork minor and senior footballer himself, McCarthy brings plenty of experience to his new role, having first served as a selector under Conor Counihan in 2013; when Brian Cuthbert succeeded Counihan he retained McCarthy as a selector in 2014 and 2015.
At local level McCarthy has an equally impressive pedigree — coaching Douglas to a county final appearance in 2008 and leading Carbery Rangers to their first ever Cork SFC title last year.
During his playing career in the red jersey, which spanned the 1990s and 2000s, he won two Munster medals and a league title, and he lined out at corner-back in the 1999 All-Ireland final defeat to Meath.
He was also a member of the 1991 All-Ireland winning Cork Minor panel.