Cleary and McCarthy seen as front-runners for vacant Cork football job

July 29th, 2017 1:00 PM

By Southern Star Team

Ronan McCarthy is being mentioned for the job.

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Ronan McCarthy: He's being widely mentioned as a front-runner for the job and it's easy to see why. He was in the running two years ago too and since then his credentials have strengthened after he managed Carbery Rangers to an historic first Cork SFC triumph last season. Corner back for Cork in the 1999 All-Ireland football final the Douglas man was involved in the management teams under both Conor Counihan and Brian Cuthbert, and has a vast coaching and playing knowledge to call on.

John Cleary: Third time lucky for the Castlehaven man or has this particular ship sailed? He was in the running in 2013 before Brian Cuthbert was appointed and was the outstanding candidate in 2015 before the powers-that-be went left-of-field with Peadar Healy, and perhaps that was Cleary's best chance gone. The former All-Ireland winner and Cork U21 manager has worked with several of the current senior players, is held in high regard and is a respected figure in Cork GAA. A broker with New Ireland, Cleary is currently manager of the Cork minor ladies footballers that are into the All-Ireland final, so that has his attention these days. It's understandable that he will be linked with the Cork role again – but Cleary last managed the U21s in 2013 so his connection isn't as strong as it was in the past. If Cork turn towards Cleary again, it will need to be on his terms.

Billy Morgan: They say you should never go back, but there's an exception to every rule and bringing Billy back might temporarily steady a rocking ship. Tomás Ó Sé wasted little time in supporting the calls for Morgan to get the top job again, saying he's what Cork needs right now. Has had two previous stints as Cork boss, winning two All-Irelands in his first reign, and while some may feel at 72 that he's too old for this job now, (in his defence, he's in charge of UCC in the Sigerson) perhaps pairing him with a younger manager or utilising his vast experience in some capacity is the way forward. There's no doubting Morgan's passion for Cork football – but it's doubtful the board will go back to the past.

Stephen O'Brien: An All-Star defender from Cork's back-to-back All-Irelands in 1989 and '90, former Nemo boss O'Brien deserves to be part of the conversation. When manager of Nemo's U21s and seniors he led them both to county titles and this year he is still on the club's management team, as a selector under Larry Kavanagh. O'Brien's a strong character, well respected, isn't afraid to say what he feels and his football CV is second to none. He's definitely worth talking to. 

Ephie Fitzgerald: The current Cork senior ladies manager has enough on his plate these times ahead of the All-Ireland qualifier against Monaghan on August 7th – but his CV should put him in the equation. The Nemo man led Cork ladies to the clean sweep last season (league, Munster and All-Ireland), and in the men's game he managed Nemo to four Cork SFC titles in the noughties, and two Munster crowns. He also managed the Cork minor footballers and has been involved in the backroom inter-county teams with Waterford, Limerick and Clare in the past. But, perhaps, some of his tweets last year won't have gone down too well with the county's GAA chiefs.

Peter Creedon: The Rosscarbery native was in charge of the Laois footballers this year but stepped down from the role in the last few days - but what might come against him is that Creedon is not based here at home.. Principal of Coláiste Dún Iascaigh in Cahir, the former Tipp manager's football stock will have dropped this season on the back of Laois's poor campaign that saw them relegated from Division 3 of the league and exit at home to Clare in the championship. 

Sean Hayes: If anyone knows the U21 talent in the county right now, it's Hayes, who has been Cork U21 manager for the past four years and won two provincial titles (2014 and 2016) and lost the 2016 All-Ireland final. Given his role with the U21s and the untapped talent in those ranks for a few years, he will be linked to the role. 

James McCarthy: The former county-winning Castlehaven manager was strongly tipped for a coaching role when Peadar Healy took the job in late 2015 – but his role as Carbery-Beara GDA scuppered that due to GAA rules. Surprisingly, it didn't get much support either from the corridors of power in Cork GAA. McCarthy managed the Cork U17s this season, is a very respected coach, and, throwing this idea out there, if Cork were to link the senior, U20 and minor management teams, like with the hurlers, they could do worse than bring McCarthy on board with the  minors or U20s who will also have new management teams in place. Just a thought …

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