New Cork football manager Peadar Healy has no intention of opening the door to a renewal of dual inter-county players for Cork, he confirmed yesterday.
The Glengarriff-based Garda (52) is still finalising his management team for 2016, but stated without equivocation that dual players must make a choice between football and hurling when it comes to playing for the county.
“We won’t have dual players,” he stressed. “It’s one or the other, though any decision a dual player makes, I fully respect it.
“What inter-county team in the country wouldn’t want some of the dual players Cork have, and I am no different in that regard.”
He said one of his first meetings when he gets his feet properly under the table would be with new hurling manager, Kieran Kingston. Asked about specific players, Healy said he was “confident” Eoin Cadogan would be sticking with the Cork footballers, but added: “That’s Eoin’s decision. I’d be confident he’d stick with us but I’ll respect whatever he decides. The same with Damien Cahalane.”
Healy revealed he was interviewed for the position on October 14 and offered it three days later. “There’ll be no further comment on that,” he smiled.
His backroom team is a work in progress. Confirmed are Conor McCarthy as high performance coach, Morgan O’Sullivan from Castletownbere as selector, and Paudie Kissane as strength and conditioning coach. Kissane’s involvement means he will not be involved with the Cork minor set-up in 2016.
Castlehaven’s James McCarthy has also been targeted as a selector but because he is a Games Development coach employed by Cork GAA, there are some further discussions required for that to be green-lighted. One other selector will be added, preferrably from the city — which now houses new county champions, Nemo .
Healy has been involved this year coaching Dr Crokes in Killarney and he offered an interesting perspective on the contrast in styles between football in Cork and Kerry.
“The emphasis is on the skillset in Kerry, and I would hope to be bringing that to Cork. From under-age through to senior, it’s so important. You’d notice the differences being involved with teams in Cork and Kerry. O’Donovan Rossa (managed by Healy in 2014) play a possession game, Crokes play a kicking game. It’s something I would very conscious of and hope to bring some of that with me. But you need to adapt to play against different styles and gameplans that we will come up against. That’s a big challenge in itself.”
Healy added: “We’ve a bunch of very talented players, and my over-riding ambition would be to create a high-performance environment for these players, that we get the skillset and the mindset right, and put in place the type of structures to facilitate the development of the Cork players. As the manager I owe them that. I want what’s best for Cork football and any player that wears the Cork jersey.”
Asked what represents success for Cork football in 2016, he chose one word: Performance.
“That is key. We all want to win every competition, but I am looking for performance in every game, that we have that continuity and consistency. I want to bring players into the national league and offer them big game exposure to enable their development.”
He confirmed Cork would enter the McGrath Cup — “it’s a good grounding for players” — and that he would be very much a hands-on manager.
“I am looking forward to working with a talented bunch of players, and that’s where I will be most comfortable working — on the pitch. We haven’t had a players meeting yet, we will sit down and talk to them, but I will be introducing new players to the set-up.
“There was three minutes to go below in Killarney in the Munster final last July with Cork winning, and Brian Cuthbert’s season could have gone a very different direction. Kerry finished up in an All-Ireland final. I am not saying Cork would, but the margins are small. We are not that far away.”
Healy was speaking ahead of yesterday’s replayed Cork football final at Páirc Ui Rinn.
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