‘Big decisions need to be made’ on Cork football set-up

Following the recent Munster final hammering to Kerry, Cork manager Ronan McCarthy said he will discuss his future with the Cork GAA executive and Cork players
‘Big decisions need to be made’ on Cork football set-up

Cork manager Ronan McCarthy: Will discuss his role with local GAA chiefs in the near future. Picture: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

A Cork club delegate has said “big decisions need to be made” regarding the Cork senior football set-up after county board chairman Marc Sheehan confirmed conversations will take place with management “as a matter of urgency”.

At Tuesday's Cork County Board meeting, Sheehan said conversations will shortly convene between county board officers and team management “in evaluating this year’s campaign and looking to the future”.

Following the recent Munster final hammering to Kerry, Cork manager Ronan McCarthy said he will discuss his future with the Cork GAA executive and Cork players in the coming weeks. At the end of last year, McCarthy, having completed his initial three-year term, was given a two-year extension.

“Obviously we are all disappointed with (the Munster final) outcome, but we will be, as a matter of urgency and as is always the case, having a conversation with team management and looking to the future. I would rather not preempt the outcome of that,” said Sheehan.

Clann na nGael delegate John O’Donovan told the meeting “there is transition needed and big decisions need to be made.”

Also during the meeting, Cork GAA CEO Kevin O’Donovan said the executive should lobby for county final attendances at Páirc Uí Chaoimh to be increased beyond the current 500 limit.

A number of outstanding county finals from 2020 will take place at the venue in the coming weeks, with O’Donovan remarking there is understandable unhappiness among participating clubs who see 6,000 spectators let into Páirc Uí Chaoimh for an inter-county fixture one weekend but no more than 500 permitted the following weekend for a club decider. Sheehan said he expects the permitted attendance for next week’s Munster minor hurling (August 9) and football finals (August 11) — both to be played in Thurles — to be in the region of 4,000.

There was confirmation that if the Cork hurlers overcome Kilkenny this weekend and progress to the All-Ireland final, the opening round of games in the 2021 Cork county football and hurling championships will be pushed back a fortnight to September 5 and 12 respectively.

Such is the narrow window in which to complete the county championship programme, postponements are unlikely for clubs who are hit with positive Covid cases or players ruled out through identification as a close contact of a positive case.

“Such liberties would not apply to club competitions,” said Sheehan of the postponement to the All-Ireland U20 hurling final because of Cork’s Covid situation.

“Hopefully that won’t be a feature, but one would have to be concerned and be cognisant of the fact that the Delta variant, positive cases, and close contacts are still with us and we have to be conscious of that and try to complete the competitions week-on-week.

“That may require clubs to play without some players who will be unavailable due to Covid.”

Separately, it has been confirmed a Special Congress will take place on September 18 in Croke Park to deal with the 10 motions left-over from annual congress earlier this year.

Each county is to be represented by their Central Council delegate and one other. If it is not possible to hold an in-person Special Congress due to public health restrictions, it will be postponed.

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