ALL-IRELAND winning Cork minor ladies football manager Joe Carroll admits he is ‘bemused’ by recent events that have seen him replaced as Rebels boss.
The Macroom man masterminded Cork’s All-Ireland Minor A final success in early August, but the high of that triumph didn’t last long as Carroll was informed a few weeks later that interviews would be held for the minor manager position for 2023.
He put his name forward for the role, was interviewed in mid October by a five-person panel, but learned by email from Cork LGFA Secretary Kieran Keane on Friday night, October 28th that he had been unsuccessful in his application.
‘All the management, not alone me, are bemused by what’s going on,’ Carroll told The Southern Star.
‘We felt we had done a very good job in the last two years. We won Munster last year, and we won Munster and an All-Ireland this year. When a team has such a successful year, and for continuity, it’s very surprising that we weren’t asked to continue for another year and build on the good work we have done.’
Carroll succeeded John Cleary as Cork minor ladies football manager in 2020, having worked in Cleary’s backroom team in 2018 and ’19, playing his part in the county’s All-Ireland win in ’19. Carroll is disappointed that he wasn’t given the chance to continue in the role.
‘Dialogue is a big thing. That’s lacking at this level right now,’ Carroll explains.
‘The communication wasn’t there. There seemed to be no acknowledgment of the work that our management team did. Let it be good, bad or indifferent, say “thanks very much, you’ve done a good job but now we feel we need to go in a new direction” – but that didn’t come.
‘If you win an All-Ireland, you'd think they’d congratulate you and offer you the job for another 12 months, or Plan B, we haven't really been successful at senior level and there must be a reason behind it, explain their reasoning behind it before the interviews (for the Cork minor manager position) were held, but that never happened.’
Carroll also feels that the one-year terms being recommended for U14, U16 and minor management teams is not ideal.
‘We need continuity, not chopping and changing. We need a plan,’ he says.
‘With the new criteria put forward there could be an interview every year as it’s a one-year term going forward. It won’t be me now, but the new person who gets the job, if they do a good job and win an All-Ireland, they are now looking over their shoulder, thinking what will happen here, will I lose my job. Where’s the continuity there?’
The former county minor manager admits a discussion is needed to find out why Cork’s recent minor victories are not translating into senior success. The county’s last All-Ireland senior win was in 2016, while Cork have won five of the last six All-Ireland minor A titles.
‘What bemuses me a small bit is why a meeting couldn't be called between the senior management, the minor management, the U16 management, and bring in those involved in previous years, to get their views so all this can be discussed by football people’ Carroll says.
‘The issue exists at national level, not just in Cork, because there is nowhere for those U18 girls to go except straight to senior. There is no U20 grade, no senior B, no competition that will give them another year or two in their development. It takes time for players to reach that level, they need time to develop.’
Carroll, who insists he wants what is best for Cork, will move on to his next challenge now, but feels it’s important to highlight his recent experience so lessons will be learned.
The Southern Star also understands that a leading candidate for the Cork minor ladies football manager position withdrew their application as they were unhappy with certain requests from Cork LGFA regarding the make-up of their management team.