TRACEY Kennedy has called on the entire Cork football family to support the new five-year plan designed to improve all levels of football in the county.
The Cork GAA chairperson launched #2024 – A Five-Year Plan for Cork Football at Páirc Uí Chaoimh on Wednesday.
Kennedy believes this new and innovative plan that is ‘rooted in common sense’ while also containing ‘fairly radical provisions’ is just what Cork football needs to lift itself from its current low ebb and return the Rebels to contenders at all grades of inter-county football, including club championships.
‘We will need buy-in from everyone for this to work,’ Kennedy told The Southern Star.
‘If Cork football is to be successful then everyone has to buy into this. The success of this plan hinges on how the various stakeholders – whether that’s players, coaches, managers, clubs, supporters – buy-in to this plan. That will be critical.
‘The amount of support that the Cork football family gives this report will determine its success. We have to do this as a whole, as a unit.
‘If we want change – and we all do – it’s going to involve some little bit of sacrificing, putting away the idea of what’s best for me or what’s best for my club but looking at the bigger picture and what’s best for Cork football.’
The special committee behind this plan includes Kennedy, All-Ireland winning Cork football captain Graham Canty, All-Ireland winning player and manager Conor Counihan and former Cork senior manager Brian Cuthbert.
The 42-page plan aims to improve participation and performance across all levels of Cork football and it intends to deliver the following outcomes over the next five years, from 2019 to 2024:
• Cork will be regular All-Ireland contenders in all grades of inter-county football, including club championships, within three to five years.
• Support for Cork football and the profile of Cork inter-county footballers will grow significantly within one to two years.
• A clear player development pathway will be created by the end of 2019, producing a regular supply of quality footballers within the next five years.
• High-quality coaches with a strong focus on developing the fundamental skills of the game will be available in all clubs, along with a support network for those club coaches led by the county games development staff, by the end of 2024.
• A county championship structure which supports this work will be in place within three years.
• A clear over-arching vision/plan for football in Cork which is communicated to and understood by all involved in the game.
• A well-resourced administration fully supportive of this plan and driving its success.
Among the standout recommendations from this plan that centres on four main themes – Our Clubs and Schools, Our People, Our County and Our Administration – are a number of ‘critical appointments’ that can help deliver the actions explained in the strategy.
These appointments include a Project Co-Ordinator to implement the actions in the plan, a High Performance Director to oversee and develop the sports science elements of team and athlete preparation for rigours of inter-county, a Talent Development Manager to act as an administrator for academy squads in both football and hurling, GDA appointments, a Junior Administrator for full-time support for officers at Rebel Óg level and a Media Liaison Officer.
‘The appointments are an integral and critical part of the plan,’ Kennedy says.
‘We will be hoping that the county board approves the plan, and there is a meeting at the end of the month. The executive has already approved it and will be recommending it for approval.
‘At the end of the day it comes down to the clubs, and if the clubs approve the plan, we would envisage that we would be advertising for those positions in early February.’
The plan also looks to close the ‘growing disconnect between Cork supporters and Cork football teams’ by improving the connection between the two, improving the match day experience and the use of new media to promote Cork football, such as developing an online platform, Cork GAA TV, to provide supporters with access to behind the scenes footage, past games, team announcements, interviews with Cork legends, club games, etc.