Counihan close to Cork decision

CORK football manager Conor Counihan is expected to inform the Cork County Board of his intentions for 2011 within the next week.

Earlier this week the board voted to offer the All-Ireland-winning coach another two years at the helm, and the Aghada man is mulling over his options.

Sources close to Counihan said yesterday he is expected to give the board his decision within the next seven days.

Meanwhile, Counihan’s counterpart with the Rebels’ hurling squad, Denis Walsh, has let more players go from his 2010 squad as he looks ahead to 2011.

Walsh caused a sensation last weekend by informing Seán Óg Ó hAilpin that he would not be part of his plans for the coming season, with Munster and Ireland star Ronan O’Gara weighing into the debate in yesterday’s Irish Examiner.

“He’s won three All-Irelands which is fantastic,” said O’Gara. “I don’t know exactly what the circumstances are but it seems he’s had a meeting with Denis Walsh and he was told that he wasn’t part of his plans, which you’d find, from a players’ point of view, did he not want to play on and fight for his position? “So I’m not sure what’s the story there but I’m sure he has something to offer for Cork.”

It has emerged that several fringe players have been cut from the Cork squad in recent days, but none of those players are headline names. However, senior players such as Ben and Jerry O’Connor, Ronan Curran, Tom Kenny and Kieran Murphy will all be involved next year with the Cork team.

Some panellists have yet to meet Walsh and his management team for their review meetings, with prominent figures such as Seán Óg Ó hAilpin’s clubmates John Gardiner and brother Aisake having been abroad in recent weeks.

Speculation has also centred on the possibility of a change of captain on the county hurling team, with Bishopstown’s Shane O’Neill, vice-captain for the season just past, in the frame for promotion to skipper.


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