Monday 21 May 2018

Eugene McGee: Desperate times call for desperate measures - it's time for Cork to look outside county

Brian Cuthbert is under pressure after Cork's defeat to Kildare
Brian Cuthbert is under pressure after Cork's defeat to Kildare
Eugene McGee

Eugene McGee

The tirade of derision against the people who run the GAA in Cork from former hurling goalkeeper Donal Og Cusack may or may not represent the views of ordinary Cork GAA followers - and of course the test of those views can be established if and when the Cloyne man becomes a member of that board through his own club, where he could address members face to face.

In the meantime, Cusack's all-embracing censure, one assumes, also extends to the state of the Cork football team after their dismal performance against Kildare on Saturday night.

There is a widespread feeling that Cork footballers are not going near justifying their reputation based on the fact that over the past seven or eight years the Rebels have had some very talented players.

This is particularly true of the forwards they have had on their panel in those years, many of whom were the envy of every county in the land - but they still only managed one All-Ireland title, 2010, in the past 17 years, during which their great rivals Kerry have won seven.

Most disconcerting for loyal football followers in Cork in recent times must have been the hammerings the team suffered in League or Championship games against Kerry and Dublin, and now even Kildare.

One dramatic intervention that just might be the catalyst for a major revival of Cork football is to get a manager from outside the county to run the team for a few years.

As one of the few counties never to have used an outside manager, many Cork people would probably regard this suggestion as heresy, and the same would apply to their hurlers.

Yet many very talented football men, including the present manager Brian Cuthbert, who has always had a very high reputation in the county, have tried their best but failed to maximise the talent that has been at the disposal of Cork-born managers, so what would be the problem with opting for an outsider for a while?

Many famous tradition-laden counties have in recent years been happy to go for a non-native to run their team, including Meath, Galway, Donegal, Mayo, Kildare, Down, Cavan, Armagh and Offaly - and with at least some success, including three All-Ireland wins from that bunch.

An outsider with football savvy could be just what would work in Cork, provided he had a strong back-up team of talented people from the Rebel county.

I have no idea of the politics of Gaelic football in Cork but I am sure there are people who believe that their part of this huge county gets a raw deal from selectors and managers from time to time. This happens in many other large counties, so one can only assume it is the same in Cork.

A good outside person can avoid that charge of prejudice as he should come with no perceived baggage of any kind and will carry out his work solely based on what he sees and observes through the county.

In addition, an input of football expertise and technical knowledge of the game from a non-Cork perspective could be just the thing to extract the maximum return from the talent available.

Gaelic football is changing radically and an outside manager could well be one to cash in on the huge amount of talent that is always available in that huge county.

And now having said all that I am going to run for cover!

How footballers compare to main rivals since 2000


Munster MF titles: 4 - 2000, 2005, 2007, 2010.

Munster U-21 titles: 10 - 2001, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014.

Munster SF titles: 5 - 2002, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2012.

All-Ireland MF titles: 1 - 2000.

All-Ireland U-21 titles: 2 - 2007, 2009.

All-Ireland SF titles: 1 - 2010.


Munster MF titles: 10 - 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2013, 2014, 2015.

Munster U-21 titles: 2 - 2002, 2008

Munster SF titles: 11 - 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015.

All-Ireland MF titles: 1 - 2014.

All-Ireland U-21 titles: 1 - 2008.

All-Ireland SF titles: 6 - 2000, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2014

Irish Independent

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