BY KIERAN McCARTHY
FORMER Cork U21 football manager John Cleary has backed Cork GAA Coaching Officer Kevin O’Donovan’s proactive approach to solving the county’s current GAA woes.
Kilmeen man O’Donovan made headlines last week when, at the most recent county board meeting, he broke ranks and distributed his Rebel plan, a 16-page document with 25 proposals aimed at tackling problems he feels exist in Cork GAA.
Two-time All-Ireland winner Cleary, from Castlehaven, was the hot favourite for the Cork senior football manager’s job last year before he withdrew from the race, and he has applauded O’Donovan’s brave solo run that has shone a light on many GAA issues in the county.
‘There are obviously problems there and in fairness to Kevin, he is trying to get the discussion going and see can people come up with answers to try and improve the situation,’ Cleary told The Southern Star.
‘We can all see that the county teams aren’t doing well at all grades, and Kevin has started the ball rolling, to try to get answers and ideas because doing nothing and waiting for some miracle to happen and solve everything is not the answer.
‘If we keep at the same things that have proved to be unsuccessful over the last few years, then things won’t improve.
‘Kevin has to be applauded big-time for trying to instigate a turnaround, otherwise the danger was nothing would be done. If enough people stand up and say that we need to do something about these on-going disappointments, then
things may improve.’
He added: ‘It (Cork GAA) is in a bit of rut. There’s no point saying otherwise.’
Cleary now believes that the ball is the court of the clubs to make the next move, as all clubs have been sent O’Donovan’s draft plan. Already, discussions within clubs have taken place, and Cleary agrees that it’s the clubs that now need to make their move, if that’s what they want.
‘If the clubs don’t do anything then we have to take that as a sign that they are happy enough with the current situation,’ the current Cork ladies’ minor football manager said.
‘A lot of clubs just care about what happens in their own club and they are not overly worried about the bigger picture.
‘If clubs want change, then there is a chance here for that, to open a conversation and see where that takes us.’