CORK football manager Ephie Fitzgerald is keeping his future intentions close to his chest following a disappointing end to the 2021 campaign.
Despite the shock All-Ireland semi-final loss to Meath, Fitzgerald still possesses one of the best squads in the country, but will he be there to guide Cork through another national league and All-Ireland campaign in 2022?
‘Cork will always have a chance of success once the structures are in place,’ Fitzgerald said.
‘To be fair to our county board, they are absolutely fantastic in terms of what they can give us. Financial constraints were there this year because of Covid but we still introduced a new nutritionist in Jonny Holland. He was absolutely brilliant and the girls bought into that.
‘We try to improve incrementally every year. There are lots of things in place but they need to stay there. Strength and conditioning, nutrition, coaching, sports psychology, fitness and skill levels are in place but it is very easy to lose those.
‘For all intents and purposes, the game is gone professional now.’
Fitzgerald is an advocate of the GAA amalgamating with the LGFA and Camogie and believes it is the only way forward.
‘Girls not getting expenses and the debacles with pitches every year has to improve if our game is going to progress,’ Fitzgerald said.
‘The problem with the LGFA is that they don’t own a blade of grass. We had the (All-Ireland) semi-final problem with our game being fixed for Tuam before being moved to Croke Park. That’s not good enough in this day and age. The time and effort being put in by the players has to be reflected by proper structures.
‘From my point of view, this bunch of Cork players are absolutely phenomenal, their respect on and off the pitch. In lots of ways, they keep me going. They keep me young. So, with regard to the future, I just don’t know at the moment to be honest about it.
‘Right now, my concern is for my players, going forward, in that progress continues to be made. Any improvements that can be made for next year need to be made. Going forward, structures must remain in place, things must remain professional, the goodwill of the county board continues and the girls stay committed and focussed. Look around the other counties, are they any better than us? They are not.’