Ephie Fitzgerald will continue in his role as coach to the Waterford footballers despite taking over as Cork ladies football manager on Monday night.
Déise boss Tom McGlinchey confirmed Fitzgerald will be on the sideline for Sunday’s Division 4 opener away to Wicklow, the same afternoon Cork ladies footballers open their league campaign with a home clash against Mayo.
“We are preparing for Wicklow and Ephie will be very much part of the preparations. He’s going to be in Aughrim on Sunday. There will be clashes but we will deal with that in the right and proper way.
“This isn’t unique to Waterford; this has happened with other counties and other teams. It isn’t going to affect our preparations this week.”
Fitzgerald joined the Waterford set-up in November after stints with Clare and Limerick and a hugely successful tenure with his club Nemo Rangers.
McGlinchey continued: “He was very anxious to help out with the Cork ladies football team and he said to me it wouldn’t interfere with the commitment he had given to Waterford. He’s committed to us three days a week and that hasn’t changed. He’s going to be in Aughrim on Sunday and there’s going to be no issue there. Obviously, it’s a big undertaking, he’s well aware of that. He feels he can offer something to Cork ladies football and I have no doubt he can. It won’t affect his involvement with Waterford.”
Fitzgerald succeeds Eamonn Ryan in the Cork hotseat. Ryan, who oversaw 26 titles — including 10 All-Ireland titles — during his reign as Cork ladies football coach from 2004 to 2015, announced his departure late December, having opted to take up a role as a selector with Peader Healy’s Cork men’s footballers.
Fitzgerald was ratified as Ryan’s successor at a general purposes meeting of the Cork Ladies Football Board following a gruelling search which took four weeks, and involved a number of other potential candidates.
Cork Ladies Football Board PRO Pat Culloty said: “These are exciting times for everyone involved and we all have high hopes and expectations. There’s a busy few months ahead with the league starting on Sunday, but we wish Ephie all the best and we look forward to working with him.”
It is not known how many of the 2015 All-Ireland-winning squad will remain, but Fitzgerald will be without All-Star defender Geraldine O’Flynn for the league, as she recovers from a cruciate injury sustained in the All-Ireland final against Dublin. As to whether there will be any high-profile retirements is not yet confirmed, but it is expected one or two players will soon make statements.
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