Cork opt for change as Ronan McCarthy is shown the door

Manager had backers on county executive but will vacate the position for 2022

Cork manager Ronan McCarthy will leave his position. Photo: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Cork manager Ronan McCarthy will leave his position. Photo: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

 

Cork have joined a growing number of counties in search of a new football manager. News came on Tuesday that Ronan McCarthy would not be continuing as the senior football manager after a vote by the county executive.

He still had a year to go on his appointment and was interested in extending that but the executive decided to draw to a close his four years in charge.

As a firm believer in the importance of the All-Ireland round-robin quarter-finals, which Cork reached in 2019, McCarthy was frustrated that half his tenure saw the format abandoned because of the Covid pandemic.

Ironically this facilitated his best championship display and result, the last-minute toppling of Kerry in last November’s Munster semi-final in Páirc Uí Chaoimh. The inconsistency however that dogged his time in charge saw Cork fail to turn that into a Munster title, losing to Tipperary.

Controversy arrived at the start of the year when he was suspended for a training session in Youghal despite close-season, pandemic restrictions in January - a charge he disputed all the way up the GAA’s disciplinary apparatus.

Having secured promotion to Division Two of the AFL, McCarthy kept the county there this year but the final blow came in a 22-point defeat by Kerry in July’s Munster final.

He reportedly had his supporters on the executive but the vote against was still clear and he stepped down immediately.

Cork GAA issued a statement confirming the news.

“The Cork GAA executive has today confirmed that Ronan McCarthy has stepped down as Cork senior football manager following recent discussions with board officers.

“All in Cork GAA wish to thank Ronan sincerely for his decades of service to GAA at all levels in the county, as player, coach and manager.

“In more recent times, this has included a four-year term as Cork Senior Football manager, having previously served as selector and coach for a total of three years.”

County chair Marc Sheehan said “Ronan has been an outstanding servant to Cork GAA over many years, and I would like to thank him both personally and on behalf of Cork for all that he has done.

“We wish Ronan, his selectors and backroom team all the best in their future endeavours and thank all involved for an immeasurable contribution over a number of years.”

“A process will now be put in place for the appointment of a new manager.”

Immediate speculation was stronger on who wouldn’t be taking up the position with outgoing coach and former Kildare manager Cian O’Neill believed to be not interested and under-20 manager Keith Ricken similarly disposed. Selector Bobbie O’Dwyer, who managed the minors to the 2019 All-Ireland, is seen as a possible candidate.

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