Saturday 17 August 2019

'It was always going to be a longer-term strategy' - Ex-star Canty warns hard work only starting for Cork football

Character: Graham Canty was impressed with how Ronan McCarthy’s side recovered after
relegation to Division 3. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Character: Graham Canty was impressed with how Ronan McCarthy’s side recovered after relegation to Division 3. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

Former Cork footballer Graham Canty insists the performances of the county's senior team and the annexing of the All-Ireland U-20 title have given football in the county a shot in the arm - but warns there is still work to be done.

Canty was part of a sub-committee established by Cork County Board to develop a long-term plan for football in the county which, among other things, set out a goal for the Rebels to be regular All-Ireland contenders by 2024.

"It is very easy to put a bit of ink down on paper, the tough thing now is the implementation of the plan and, luckily enough, Conor Counihan has been tasked with that job," said Canty at the launch of the 'PlayUs GAA' app, which helps clubs to search for and arrange challenge matches.

"Conor is the projection co-ordinator for the implementation of the five-year plan, and that's where the hard work will start. But as we always said, the volunteers within Cork will drive an awful lot of it, starting from the club and all Conor will do is try and facilitate same.

"In recent weeks it has got a nice shot in the arm, with the performances of the senior lads and the U-20s claiming an All-Ireland, so that was great. But it was always going to be a longer-term strategy piece, and the performances this year give it a shot in the arm and a feel-good factor."

Canty retired from club action with Bantry two years ago and is now coaching in the club's nursery. And after a topsy-turvy year that saw Cork relegated to Division Three before bouncing back to reach the Super 8s, Canty believes the county are heading in the right direction.

"I don't think we were as bad as a lot of people thought after we got relegated to Division Three. But in saying that, league results don't lie and you take your medicine and we'll take it no bother.

"Our performances in the last three games in the league were significantly better than they were for the first three and maybe results could have gone our way that bit more, but they didn't and, at the end of the day, if you get relegated you are not good enough for that division.

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"But as an outsider looking in, I was very impressed with the way the group recovered."

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