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Cork GAA appoint Cleary to senior role as Ricken confirms withdrawal is permanent

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The name of John Cleary of Castlehaven will be put before the full County Board meeting of August 2 as the nominee to take over the role of Cork Senior Football Manager.

The name of John Cleary of Castlehaven will be put before the full County Board meeting of August 2 as the nominee to take over the role of Cork Senior Football Manager.

The name of John Cleary of Castlehaven will be put before the full County Board meeting of August 2 as the nominee to take over the role of Cork Senior Football Manager.

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Cork’s interim football manager, John Cleary, has been offered the full-time role on a three year contract after the confirmation that Keith Ricken, who had stepped aside temporarily for health reasons, confirmed he would be returning to the post.

The announcement came in a press statement from Cork County Board on Friday afternoon just two days before the All Ireland final between Kerry and Galway,.

Cork GAA’s chief executive officer, Kevin O’Donovan, paid tribute to Keith Ricken’s integrity following the announcement. “in the two most recent management roles in Cork, namely U20 from early 2019 and Senior from late 2021, he turned difficult situations around thanks to his sheer force of nature.

"His ability to build great teams both on and off the field leaves Cork football in a good place, considering the challenges now faced in restoring it to its rightful place.”

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While Keith Ricken stepped aside in April, citing his health, his role in Cork’s survival in Division 2 and, under the stewardship of interim manager John Cleary, managed to qualify for the All Ireland quarter final having been beaten by Kerry in Munster.

Mr O’Donovan also thanked Mr Ricken’s family for their 'selfless contribution’. Mr Ricken was appointed to the role last year following Ronan McCarthy’s tenure in the job.

In its statement Cork County Board said John Cleary’s name would be put before the next meeting of the full board on August 2. “The County Executive will propose John Cleary of Castlehaven for ratification as Cork Senior Football manager on a three-year term,” the statement said. “Selectors will be named in due course.”

The likely new manager has won two All Ireland senior medals with Cork, in 1989 and 1990, while also being a key player in Castlehaven’s successful county championship campaigns, in 1989 and 1994. He has also won All Ireland titles at minor and U-21 level. He has also won several other honours as coach.

Cork GAA chairman Marc Sheehan said the new candidate for the managerial role had a ‘pedigree’ which spoke for itself. “We are grateful that he is stepping up from the role of coach and interim manager in 2022 to take the manager's bib on a full-time basis for the next three years,” he said. “We are certain that he has all the right credentials to lead and further develop the green shoots of recent months."

Kevin O’Donovan said the graduation to the role of manager of the senior team was ‘long overdue’ for John Cleary.

"We are glad that his incredible contribution to football in the county is duly recognised,” he said. “His experience will be vital in developing the successful underage teams of recent years into established competitors at elite level."



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