Rena Buckley predicts ‘big change’ ahead as Cork ladies prepare for life after Ryan

Cork star Rena Buckley is hoping for the appointment of Eamonn Ryan’s successor as senior football team manager “sooner rather than later”.

But the 16-time dual All-Ireland medallist is backing ladies football board chiefs on Leeside to make the right call as they seek a replacement for Ryan, who has linked up with Peadar Healy’s senior footballers.

Buckley, confirming her intentions to juggle both codes again this year, is anticipating “big change” in Cork ladies football.

She said: “It will be a big change, particularly for the older players who have been there a long time but haven’t seen much change at all.

“I think I played one year before Eamonn came but at this stage, I can barely remember it.

“At the same time, people are playing club matches under different managers, college matches, maybe camogie, you would be used to dealing with other people as well.

“But having said that, Eamonn was fantastic and we’ll probably miss him. Look, that’s the way it goes, we have to move on and look forward to the challenges.”

Under Ryan’s stewardship, Buckley captured 10 All-Ireland ladies senior football medals. And she stated that the news of the manager’s departure, when it was revealed in this newspaper, was “both surprising and disappointing” from her viewpoint.

Buckley added: “You know every year that he mightn’t stay on. It was broke to the media probably prematurely, that was probably both surprising and disappointing.

“I think Eamonn was fierce disappointed about that.

“He was in touch the following day and explained that he was disappointed about that but we’re very grateful for the time and effort he put in, it was phenomenal in terms of football and he’s helped all of us out in different ways.

“The county board are hoping to get the right person for the job. If that takes a little bit of time, so be it but obviously the sooner the better.”

Meanwhile, Ladies Gaelic Football Association President Marie Hickey has insisted that she saw “no problem” with the ‘Ladyball’ prank that went viral on social media last week.

Speaking yesterday as Lidl were confirmed as new sponsors of the National Leagues, with a €1.5m investment planned for the game this year, Hickey rejected suggestions that the sight of scantily-clad models posing for the advertising campaign was demeaning to women.

She said: “I suppose it’s an advertising campaign and you see women in those kind of clothes in lots of different advertising campaigns. I didn’t see a problem with it to be honest with you.” Hickey believes that the campaign, which got tongues wagging and even attracted the attention of the Washington Post, was a case of the end justifying the means.

She added: “It does. Any advertising campaign, no matter how controversial, has a focus.

“And I think because of the fact that Lidl have shown how they really are supporting our players in this campaign, shows really what it’s all about.

“I couldn’t believe it how quickly it just got everywhere.

“It just goes to show when you come up with something controversial or with a good idea, and it catches on, how it just spreads so quickly.”


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