Monday 18 December 2017

Poor club scene holding Cork back - Counihan

Former Cork player and manager Conor Counihan believes the standard of club football in the county is holding back the senior team. Photo: Matt Browne/Sportsfile
Former Cork player and manager Conor Counihan believes the standard of club football in the county is holding back the senior team. Photo: Matt Browne/Sportsfile

Independent.ie Sportdesk

All-Ireland-winning former Cork manager Conor Counihan believes the standard of club football in the county is holding back the senior team.

Peadar Healy's men start their Championship campaign with a trip to Dungarvan tonight to face Waterford. But after a difficult 18 months for the Rebels, Counihan (pictured) reckons the club scene has deteriorated significantly of late.

"Obviously you'd like to have been more successful than we've been," he said.

"That's the challenge facing people and it's trying to rise to that challenge. It goes back to basics: our standard of our club football is poor and you have to be realistic about that too.

"It's hard to put your finger on it but if you don't have it at ground level, it doesn't just appear at inter-county level.

And Counihan, who led the Rebels to an All-Ireland title in 2010 when they saw off Down in the final, believes there are too many clubs in the county.

"I suppose we have too many clubs. Our club structure is poor. We have too many clubs playing at a higher level in terms of senior status who are clearly not up to it," he said.

"We have divisional teams who shouldn't be in a club championship now. We have college teams who, in my opinion, shouldn't be in a club championship. Cork is about developing the Cork county championship and developing the best clubs in Cork. We're not doing that. Are we putting in the time at club level? That's debatable too."

Counihan expects Cork to overcome the challenge of Waterford this evening and move on to a showdown with Tipperary, who defeated them last year, for a place in the Munster final.

"The League wasn't what you'd like it to be I suppose but look, Championship is Championship and you're hoping that things can turn.

"You're hoping you can overcome Waterford and if you do it's Tipp and that's a big challenge.

"But, look, you have to be optimistic, you've no business out there if you're not going to be but it will be a big challenge, there's no doubt about that.

"The reality is, there was more than Cork stung by Tipp last year. They're a good side now and they proved that in the League again.

"They're no flash in the pan. It was inevitable in many ways because they were having success at underage so it's coming through at adult level as well. Yeah, I just hope it might stop for one day."

Irish Independent

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