Diarmuid O’Donovan was last night appointed as administrator of the Cork County Board.
As revealed in yesterday’s Irish Examiner, the county’s 2001 All-Ireland minor football winning manager takes up the newly-formed role where he will work alongside secretary Frank Murphy.
O’Donovan’s duties will include areas such as fixture planning, day-to-day responsibility for inter-county teams, responsibility for full-time coaching staff and liaising with the Munster Council.
Murphy will retain overall responsibility for the board’s financial, administrative and policy matters, as well as Páirc Uí Chaoimh’s redevelopment.
O’Donovan, the assistant chief executive with the Evening Echo, is a generally agreeable selection given his coaching experience and family which is steeped in Cork GAA — his father Donie having managed Cork’s footballers to the 1973 All-Ireland title.
Educated in St Finbarr’s Seminary College and UCC, O’Donovan coached a number of clubs such as his own St Nicholas as well as Carrigtwohill and Cill Na Martra.
He has also recently been involved in the onerous overhauling of Cork’s underage structure and chaired the grading committee, a difficult brief which involved insisting on club teams playing at different levels.
A fluent Irish speaker, O’Donovan has regularly contributed to Raidió na Gaeltachta and is a columnist as well with the Evening Echo. He was also part of the ill-fated Teddy Holland management team which had to step down following the players’ strike in 2007.
In his own playing career, O’Donovan suffered a serious knee injury in his 20s but made a full recovery to line out again for his club. He enjoys a good friendship with Jimmy Barry-Murphy whom he would have known through his father’s managing of the victorious 1973 team.
Meanwhile, Kerry selector Mikey Sheehy admits the level of preparation among inter-county players has reached “a crazy level”.
Sheehy, who will be on the team’s flight to a warm weather training camp in Portugal tomorrow before they hope to stave off Division 1 relegation when they travel to Omagh on Sunday week, said: “It is the thing that has shocked, maybe that’s a bit strong, amazed me most since I joined Eamonn [Fitzmaurice] and the Kerry set-up.
“Now that I am involved at the coal face as it were, I am even more amazed at the work that players have to put in and the lifestyles they have to lead, down to the glass of water instead of the cup of tea.
“It’s gone to a crazy level — even the work that Eamonn, Cian [O’Neill] and Diarmuid Murphy put in, it’s incredible.
“The training is totally different than in our day but the back-up is fantastic. It’s a science now and you do have to train your teams, if you want to compete.”
Sheehy compares the current crop of Kerry players to elite sportsmen. “These lads are like professional soccer players, their conditioning is frightening and I think that sometimes supporters and punters forget this.
“I am only talking about the Kerry lads but I am sure the other counties are the same, training two nights a week, gymwork two mornings a week at 7am and games most weekends.
“Then scans, blood tests and so much more... they are utterly dedicated, it’s a professional set-up and I do think that players are well looked after but boy, do they deserve it.”
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