John Cleary will not succeed Eamonn Ryan as the new Cork ladies football manager.
The former Cork footballer, who guided the county’s minor ladies to All-Ireland glory last year, has been heavily linked with the position in the wake of Ryan’s surprise departure last month.
Cleary was approached by County Board officials to gauge his interest in filling the post, but the two-time All-Ireland medal-winner expressed a desire to remain on as minor boss for 2016.
“John is staying put with the minors,” confirmed Cork ladies football chairman Neilus Carroll.
“John is a fella who would have a programme done six months in advance of the minors starting back. Plus, his daughter is still a minor and will be involved again this year.”
Cleary’s brother-in-law Micheál Ó Cróinín and Shane Ronayne, a member of Ryan’s backroom team for the past two campaigns, have now emerged as the front runners for the senior role.
Carroll revealed that no interviews have been held but was optimistic of having a manager in place by the end of next week - the All-Ireland champions begin the new season with a league fixture at home to Mayo on Sunday, January 31.
“We have approached a couple of people, but they are already tied up.
“Obviously, we want to have someone in place a bit before the Mayo game. Eamonn will be a hard act to follow.”
The ladies football board chairman said he was taken aback when news broke linking the 10-time All-Ireland winning manager with Peadar Healy’s backroom team.
“Eamonn caught us by surprise. I didn’t think he’d go.
“I spoke to him a day before [the story appeared in the paper] and I was still full sure he was staying.
“Then he rang me the following day, I think it was the Thursday, to tell me that he had made his mind up.
“He is a huge loss. He achieved so much with that group and we were fortunate that we hadn’t to go look for a manager for a long time.”
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