Two returning managers are among the sideline changes on the Cork club hurling scene for 2017.
Midleton, county champions in 2013 after a 22-year wait for a title, have turned to Paddy Fitzgerald to guide their fortunes in the wake of the departure of Jerry Wallace. Fitzgerald was an All-Ireland senior medallist in 1966 — his son Ger also achieved that feat in 1986 and 1990 — and he was in charge when Midleton won the IHC in 1978.
While he wasn’t on the sideline when they made the breakthrough with a senior championship win in ’83, he was again in charge for the titles of 1986, ’87 and ’91, with the ’87 win leading to Munster and All-Ireland glory.
Peter Smith, Midleton’s manager in 2013, and Seán O’Brien, who guided Blarney to the 2008 Premier IHC, could also be part of the set-up.
Eddie Murphy returns to Bishopstown, whom he led to the 2006 county intermediate title.
Since departing, he had similar success in helping take Ballymartle to senior and has also been involved with Newcestown, Blarney and Blackrock.
Unsurprisingly, double county champions Glen Rovers still have Richie Kelleher in charge while fellow city clubs St Finbarr’s (Tim Finn), Blackrock (Alan Browne and Wayne Sherlock), Na Piarsaigh (Stephen O’Sullivan and Seán Óg Ó hAilpín) and Douglas (Willie Coveney) are all unchanged, while Teddy McCarthy is in the second year of his term with Sarsfields.
While Mark Landers remains as Killeagh manager, they have recruited a new coach in James O’Connor. The Lismore native was a key part in fellow East Cork side Carrigtwohill claiming their first title in 2011.
In the premier intermediate grade, one appointment of note ratified during the autumn was that of Ben O’Connor with Charleville as the North Cork side seek to build on their IHC win of 2015.
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