Brian Cuthbert decision to allow Cork’s fringe players line out with their clubs this spring should be used as a template for other county managers.
That is the view of Castlehaven boss Finbarr Santry who believes Cuthbert’s strategy to allow county panellists return to their clubs if not selected on league weekends will prove beneficial to Cork in the long term.
“Over the last number of years you wouldn’t have your club players until maybe a week before championship,” noted Santry. “It is all right for Cork’s first 15 and the lads who would have been regularly introduced as subs, but there would have been a lot of lads on the Cork panel who would have sat on the bench and kept it warm, that was no benefit to them. I think Brian has made a great call. Lads will be now getting more game time and it will only increase the competition on the inter-county scene. If Brian wants these lads to go back to their clubs for weekend games I think it is great and it can only be positive for Cork.
“If you are looking at dictatorships, the Donegal manager wouldn’t take over for another year unless he was provided with assurances that the club championship wouldn’t start until the inter-county season was over.
“That can only last for so long. Club players will get fed up with that. If this works it could be adopted across the country.”
The county championship winning manager said Cork panellists are relieved to have clarity on where they stand in the age old club/county conflict.
The bottom line, he insisted, is that every inter-county player is seeing action on a weekly basis this spring, a welcome break from past years where the respective Cork bosses would require exclusive service of squad members when the NFL concluded.
“You normally get a break of four weeks and there would be plenty of Kelleher Shield games on. In the past you might hear late enough that Cork had drawn up a training program during these four weeks and as a result you wouldn’t have your lads. That upsets the whole thing. Lads get fed up of that — training, training, training and no matches.
“Lads want to be playing ball. No club manager wants to see lads training with Cork on a Sunday when they could be playing with their club.
“I think it will increase the value of the competition, be it the Tadhg Crowley Cup or the Kelleher Shield, because you will have the county’s best footballers on show.
“The lads not seeing action with Cork are delighted to get the chance to go back with their clubs. In previous years they didn’t know where they stood, now they know they can go back and line out with their club.”
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