Monday 26 September 2016

Cork player defends ex-manager: 'Cuthbert was not to blame, the players were'

Published 25/03/2016 | 02:30

Cork’s Stephen Cronin, rignt, with Jack Savage of Kerry at Dublin’s Grand Canal ahead of the EirGrid Munster U21 FC final. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Cork’s Stephen Cronin, rignt, with Jack Savage of Kerry at Dublin’s Grand Canal ahead of the EirGrid Munster U21 FC final. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

His rookie season with the Cork footballers didn't end as he had hoped but Stephen Cronin still feels former boss Brian Cuthbert received unwarranted blame when fingers should instead have been pointed in the direction of the players.

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Despite reaching the Division 1 league final 12 months ago, and coming agonisingly close to Munster final glory against Kerry, the Rebels were thumped by Kildare in the Qualifiers which saw Cuthbert depart after two seasons in charge on Leeside.

And Nemo Rangers defender Cronin believes his former manager, who handed him his championship debut at just 19 and also managed him for a year at minor level, had them as well prepared as at any stage in the past but they just failed to deliver.

"A lot of fellas would say he prepared us the best they've been prepared. Even when they won the All-Ireland, they said the most they were prepared was for last year's Munster final," he said.

"In a way he's taken a lot of blame that he shouldn't have taken. It was all down to the players when it came down to it. He prepared us right, he did everything right. From the word go from my time in there, it was spot on."

Cronin expects players to respond positively to the pressure to perform, with no excuses. "We're getting all the chances we need, all the resources we need," the U-21 skipper said.

"The lads are working very hard to try and get it right. The league has had a lot of ups and downs, probably stereotypical of Cork football at the moment but the main thing is that they're building towards championship the whole time."

Irish Independent

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