Having been set to take time away from football after his spell as Kildare manager, Cian O’Neill has revealed how Ronan McCarthy coaxed him into the Cork set-up as a coach to the senior footballers.
“Two things happened — July was a free month and come August my wife was just sick of me,” O’Neill laughed.
“She wasn’t used to me being around the whole time.”
“And then Ronan called out to me and threw the hand grenade in. Deep down I was tingling.”
Head of the Department of Sport, Leisure, and Childhood Studies at Cork IT, O’Neill admits the long-distance travelling to his home county of Kildare had taken its toll.
“I said it to the boss at home. The more she thought about it, the travel was always the difficulty, it was never really the football. And management is a different animal to coaching. I’m glad not to have those responsibilities.
"You don’t have the litany of other responsibilities. And Tammy was happy to support me.”
Before he took on the job, O’Neill had served on the interview panel for the hiring of new Cork high-performance manager Aidan O’Connell.
“Aidan’s overarching role is critical. It was a really rigorous and robust process. We knew we got the right man for Cork.”
O’Neill also enthuses about the arrival of Laois native Kevin Smyth as strength and conditioning coach. Smith previously worked in rugby with Stade Francais.
“Kevin is a great guy. He had his French odyssey with Stade. He’s back doing a PhD at CIT. He’s a different level.”
Having defeated a Kerry U20 side 6-19 to 2-9 in the opening game of their McGrath Cup campaign last Sunday, McCarthy makes 15 changes to take on David Power’s Tipperary in Mallow tonight.
There are 17 clubs represented in the matchday panel, and 10 on the starting team, which includes four of Cork’s U20 All-Ireland winners; Sean Meehan (Kiskeam) at centre-back, captain Peter O’Driscoll (Ilen Rovers) at wing-forward, Brian Hartnett (Douglas) in midfield, and corner-back Shane Hickey (Millstreet).
Thomas Clancy (Clonakilty) joins Hartnett in the middle, with Castlehaven duo Mark Collins and Michael Hurley making their 2020 bows in attack.
Joe Creedon (Iveleary) starts in goal.
CORK (v Tipp): J Creedon (Iveleary); S Hickey (Millstreet), S Wilson (Douglas), S Ryan (St Finbarr’s); T Corkery (Cill na Martra), S Meehan (Kiskeam), C Kiely (Ballincollig); B Hartnett (Douglas), T Clancy (Clonakilty); C Barrett (St Finbarr’s), M Collins (Castlehaven), P O’Driscoll (Ilen Rovers); C Dorgan (Ballincollig), S Sherlock (St Finbarr’s), M Hurley (Castlehaven).
Subs: A Casey (Kiskeam), S Fitzgerald (O’Donovan Rossa), P Murphy (Bandon), L O’Donovan (Clonakilty), C O’Callaghan (Eire Og), R Harkin (Mallow), J O’Rourke (Carbery Rangers), D Gore (Kilmacabea), C O’Mahony (Mitchelstown).