Cork reveal five-year plan to become football contenders again

Graham Canty, Conor Counihan and Brian Cuthbert have helped develop long-term plan

Graham Canty is one of the high profile names behind Cork football’s new five year plan. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Cork county board have developed a five-year plan to make the county’s footballers All-Ireland contenders again. Cork last won the All-Ireland in 2010, and the Munster title in 2012. They lost last year’s provincial decider to Kerry by 17 points and the 2017 final by 11 points.

The county board executive has considered the plan and will recommend it for approval at the next county board meeting on January 29th.

The plan has been developed by former All-Ireland winning Cork captain Graham Canty, former All-Ireland winning player and manager Conor Counihan, former Cork senior and minor football manager and All-Ireland minor winning captain Brian Cuthbert, and county chair Tracey Kennedy.

The desired outcomes for the five-year period between 2019 and 2024 are for Cork to become “regular All-Ireland contenders in all grades of intercounty football, including club championships, within three to five years”.


“Support for Cork football and the profile of our intercounty footballers will grow significantly within one to two years. A clear player development pathway will be created by the end of 2019, producing a regular supply of quality footballers within the next five years.

“High-quality coaches with a strong focus on developing the fundamental skills of the game will be available in all clubs, along with a support network for those club coaches led by the county games development staff, by the end of 2024.

“A county championship structure which supports this work will be in place within three years. A clear, over-arching vision/plan for football in Cork which is communicated to and understood by all involved in the game. And a well-resourced administration fully supportive of this plan and driving its success.”

The plan also envisages stronger connections between the county’s football teams and their supporters, “an improved match-day experience and the use of new media to promote Cork football”.

The appointments required for the delivery of the plan include a project co-ordinator to oversee its delivery; a high-performance manager who will oversee and develop the sports science elements of team and athlete preparation; a talent identification manager to work on the player development pathway at underage level; a junior administrator to support the work of Rebel Óg; and a media liaison officer.

The county board will wait for the outcome of the Cork GAA strategic plan – which is due to be completed by the end of March – before they provide finalised proposals in relation to the restructuring of the club championships and leagues. They are, however, in favour of the immediate re-introduction of automatic relegation in all levels of club championship and the development of a rigidly enforced fixtures calendar for each full year for all footballers from junior to senior level in Cork.

Commenting on the launch, Counihan highlighted the importance of buy-in to the plan at grassroots level, saying: “I think the resources being applied will be of major benefit but these are worth nothing without the support of the people on the ground. This is an opportunity which we all need to embrace for the good of Cork football.”

Canty concurred, adding: “I believe that with the full support of our clubs, administration, players and supporters, this plan offers Cork football an opportunity to once again scale the heights in the club and intercounty arena.”

Cuthbert also stressed the opportunity now available to maximise the potential of Cork football: “This plan affords Cork football a synergy that will allow us to maximise our full potential. Key appointments, allied to new structures at club, county and administrative levels, will provide all of our stakeholders with a pathway that is co-ordinated and properly resourced.

“This is a time of opportunity that will require huge work but more importantly, it will require us all to put our own self-interests second to the greater good of football within our county.”