Cork hurling legend Tomás Mulcahy has ruled out succeeding manager Jimmy Barry-Murphy and wants his former playing colleague to see out his term as Cork hurling manager.
Recent speculation has centred on Barry-Murphy stepping down after a disappointing defeat at the hands of Galway, who have since reached the All-Ireland final, and Mulcahy, who played alongside Barry-Murphy in the All-Ireland victories of 1984 and 1986, had been identified as the front-runner in the succession stakes.
Yesterday the Glen Rovers clubman responded to those suggestions.
“That’s not on my horizon at all, I have no interest in becoming the Cork hurling manager,” he said. “I’ve not been contacted about that matter by the county board and as far as I can see there is no vacancy there anyway.
“I strongly support Jimmy continuing in the position and seeing out his term as manager, I’d encourage him to do that.
“There’s been a lot of speculation about my intentions, all of which stems from a podcast I did some weeks ago. I spoke about a lot of matters to do with Cork hurling, and at the very end I was asked if I’d be interested in managing Cork myself at some point.
“Like any former inter-county player, I said I would be interested in doing so at the right time, but since then people have presumed I wanted to replace Jimmy immediately.
“Nothing could be further from the truth. I go back over 30 years with Jimmy Barry-Murphy. I admired him as a role model and was lucky enough to win All-Irelands with him, and I would never undercut him in any way.
“Since quotes from that podcast appeared, I’ve had people on social media try to insinuate that I was trying to stab Jimmy in the back, which is something I would never do.”
Mulcahy pointed to Galway boss Anthony Cunningham’s recent experience as a template for Barry-Murphy going forward.
“Last year, Anthony Cunningham was being criticised everywhere when Galway went out to Tipperary, after losing a big lead in that game. Yet here they are 12 months later, in an All-Ireland final.
“Cunningham shook up his backroom team, bringing in the likes of Eugene Cloonan, and they’ve introduced a bit of steel there as well, as Cunningham himself said after they won the All-Ireland semi-final last Sunday.
“Brian Cody has always changed around the personnel in his backroom team with Kilkenny, and perhaps Jimmy could do with freshening things up in terms of the squad, management and back room as well.
“Certainly Cork could do with some of the steel that Anthony Cunningham referred to. In 20-minute patches this year they’ve been dazzling — against Dublin in the league semi-final, against Wexford in the championship, for patches against Tipperary in the league — but there have also been worrying signs when the team is under pressure.
“In the first minute against Galway, Jonathan Glynn was able to score a very soft goal by running through the heart of the Cork defence and flick the ball over opponents’ heads without a tackle being made. I couldn’t imagine a player making that sort of ground against the Kilkenny or Galway defence without meeting a strong challenge.”
The focus will now turn to Barry-Murphy and his plans for the 2016 season. Cork are already in the market for a new county senior football manager following the departure of Brian Cuthbert, with the county board this week appointing a committee to find a replacement for the Bishopstown man.
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