SHANE Ronayne feels the time is right for him to take the top job in Cork ladies’ football.
The Rebels’ new senior manager has been handed a three-year term and he takes over from Ephie Fitzgerald who had held the role for the past six seasons.
It’s no secret that Ronayne put his name in the ring to succeed Eamonn Ryan as Cork boss in 2016, but the county’s LGFA chiefs opted to hand the position to Fitzgerald.
But now, six seasons later, Mitchelstown man Ronayne has landed the job he wanted. He was halfway through a two-year deal with the Waterford men’s senior football team but when news broke that Cork LGFA were seeking ‘expressions of interest’ for their senior manager’s job, Ronayne felt it was too good an opportunity to turn down.
The trio of Ronayne, Ephie Fitzgerald and John Cleary were in the running for the role, with interviews held last week, though Fitzgerald did not put himself forward to be interviewed. On Friday night, The Southern Star broke the news that Ronayne had been offered the job. Later that night, Waterford GAA confirmed he had stepped down from his role as men’s football manager. His appointment as Cork boss was then rubber-stamped at a county board meeting on Monday night.
‘This is something that I wanted to do for a long time,’ Ronayne told the Star Sport Podcast.
‘I am very ambitious as a coach and a manager and this is something that really excites me. When I became aware that the opportunity was there to go for the job, I went for it because it’s like a dream come true.
‘I had another year left to go with Waterford so it wasn’t easy to leave that, but this job is one of the only ones that I would have left the Waterford job for because I had a commitment made to them.
‘Sometimes in life opportunities come and you just have to go for them because in four or five years down the line, who knows where I would be or where Cork would be or what the situation would be, so sometimes you just have to go for it. It’s too good an opportunity for me to pass up.’
Ronayne has an impressive managerial and coaching CV to call on. He served as a Cork selector under the late Eamonn Ryan for two seasons, has overseen Mourneabbey’s rise to the top of ladies’ club football and also worked wonders in his four seasons in charge of Tipperary’s ladies’ football team. The timing is right now, he says, to step up and take on the Cork job.
‘Sometimes you might come into a role too soon in your managerial career – and you see that quite often in the Premier League with managers that aren’t quite ready. I think I have served a very good apprenticeship and it’s been a good learning curve with all the teams I’ve been with,’ Ronayne said.
‘The experience of winning and losing, and the highs and lows with Mourneabbey and Tipperary. There was huge excitement on the great days but there were days too when everything went against us.
‘Certainly in the last six years, as a coach, manager and a person I have matured, I have learned a lot and I am still learning. I think the time is right for me to have a go at it.’