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Curran calls time on Rebels as JBM favoured for return to management

RONAN CURRAN gone of his own accord. Denis Walsh dispatched by the powers above. And now intense speculation that Jimmy Barry Murphy is poised for a second coming in the managerial hotseat.

Never a dull moment in Cork hurling, as they say. Yesterday's breaking news that Walsh's term as Rebel boss would not be extended scarcely came as a bombshell, but it has since emerged that the next manager must plan without decorated centre-back Curran.

"I had nine tough years but enjoyable years with Cork," said the 30-year-old veteran. "I enjoyed every minute of it. I'm sad to leave it but, after the Galway defeat in the championship, I knew it was time to leave. I'm not getting any younger and the legs are getting a bit more tired. I've played a lot of games in the last ten years. The time is right."

Curran shook off a knee injury to start the Galway game - his first summer start of 2011 has now transpired to be his swansong. He made his championship debut in 2003 but, ironically, was first brought into the Cork senior set-up by Barry Murphy in 2000.

Now the legendary JBM is being touted as the favoured candidate to replace Walsh, whose two-and-a-half year term ended with crushing defeat to Galway. The six-man appointments committee entrusted with filling the vacancy decided on Sunday that change was required, and informed Walsh on Monday. Barry-Murphy is reportedly interested in a return, 11 years after quitting the role and 12 years since leading Cork to an All-Ireland title.

The St Finbarr's man would be seen as a unifying figure, while his return could also pave the way for Seán óg ó hAilpín to resume his Cork career, a year after being discarded by Walsh.

Meanwhile, just days after Kerry booked their place in the All-Ireland SFC final, it looks like former star Tommy Walsh could finally reach an Aussie FL milestone and make his senior debut.

The Kerin's O'Rahilly's man will have his best chance of selection this year when the St Kilda's lineout is named tomorrow after the 2009 All-Ireland medalist played his best game of the season for the Saints reserves at the weekend.

Walsh kicked six goals including the winner to secure Sandringham a three-point win over Collingwood's VFL side.