Ger Cunningham has opted to step down as a Cork selector as he continues to be linked with the vacant manager’s job in Limerick.
However, it is far from clear-cut that the St Finbarr’s clubman will get the Treaty job as there is growing pressure in Limerick for the selection committee to appoint from inside the county.
The 52-year-old notified his St Finbarr’s clubmate Jimmy Barry-Murphy yesterday of his intentions.
In a statement on the Cork website last night, Cunningham gave no reason for his decision, but said: “I wish to confirm that I have today stepped down as a member of the Cork senior hurling management team.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed the last two years coaching the Cork senior hurlers. It’s been a privilege and an honour to work with fellow members of management, backroom and a superb group of players.”
The board praised him for his two years’ service and Barry-Murphy stated: “I would like to thank Ger most sincerely for his contribution over the past two years.”
Cunningham’s name has been linked with the Limerick vacancy since John Allen stepped down in September.
Should he be appointed, Cunningham will be the third consecutive ’Barr’s man to coach Limerick after Allen and before him Donal O’Grady.
Cunningham’s departure is a blow to Cork. He had enjoyed an excellent working relationship with not only the current crop of players but those in the early to mid-Noughties.
Barry-Murphy was the third manager Cunningham had served under as a selector-cum-coach after O’Grady in 2003 and ’04, then joining Allen in ’05 and ’06.
This year saw him involved in a fifth All-Ireland final as part of a Cork management team.
He had been the players’ choice to replace Allen at the end of the ’06 season but Gerald McCarthy was appointed instead.
Cunningham has also managed at club level, taking charge of his own St Finbarr’s as well as Ballygunner, whom he led to the 2009 county title.
Limerick have now been without a manager for 58 days — the only county of the proposed 12-team Division 1 for next year yet to confirm their man at the helm for 2014.
* Long-serving Cork footballers Alan Quirke and Pearse O’Neill have retired from the inter-county game. They follow Graham Canty, Noel O’Leary and Paudie Kissane, three more of Cork’s 2010 All-Ireland-winning team to retire.
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