Saturday 10 December 2016

Curran admits Cork in-fighting contributed to team's decline

Published 21/09/2011 | 05:00

RONAN CURRAN has no intention of reversing his decision to retire and admits the in-fighting in Cork over the course of his career damaged the team.

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The Rebels contested four All- Ireland finals in a row from 2003 to '06 but have fallen away sharply since, with the disputes of '02 and '09 taking their toll on a team that came within 70 minutes of winning three All-Irelands in succession.

"It definitely took a lot out of us," Curran said. "None of us wanted to be involved in it. Mistakes were made on both sides, but that's all past us now. I suppose it might have taken a bit out of fellas, training-wise as well, it wasn't as organised.

"Going through the winter we might have lost a bit of fitness. I suppose you get fitter and fitter as the years go on and if you take a bit of a break or if you suffer a bit, you might go back a bit. I'd say it didn't help us in the long run."

At just 30, Curran was expected to be part of the Cork panel for another few seasons. He retired on the same day Denis Walsh announced his decision to step down and even the appointment of Jimmy Barry-Murphy, who first invited Curran to Cork training as a 19-year-old in 2000, can't entice him to return for 2012.

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"The day I decided to announce it I rang Denis Walsh to tell him and he said he had a bit of news for me as well, so he was gone the same day," he said.

"I was talking to Jimmy afterwards, texting him to wish him the best of luck and he got back on to me too. It's a decision I thought about and I wanted to make it before anyone came in. I have my decision made, so that's it for me.

"The game these days is about pace and most of the young fellas coming in are fast and fit."

Curran's decision means that from Cork's dominant half-back line of the middle of the last decade, only John Gardiner remains active, but Curran believes the other member of that line, Sean Og O hAilpin, could still play at inter-county level -- despite being left out in the cold by Walsh for 2011.

"Sean Og is the supreme athlete. He's never going to be out of shape and he has a fierce drive for the game," he said.

"I don't know what Sean Og's thoughts are or if Jimmy has been in contact with him or whatever but he certainly can add something to the whole thing, even if it's the young fellas watching him train because he's an unbelievable athlete and he's very professional in everything he does."

And while the county is awash with optimism after Barry- Murphy's return, Curran warned against expecting an immediate about turn in fortunes.

"It's going to be a tough job for him, but there's a kind of awe about JBM that brings a lot of confidence to the whole thing. We need that because we've been suffering over the last year or two," he said.

Irish Independent

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