Cork County board has poured cold water on speculation that Jimmy Barry-Murphy is about to tender his resignation as county hurling manager.
Barry-Murphy, whose term as Cork senior hurling manager has another year to run, could not be contacted yesterday as reports circulated on his future. The county board meets on Tuesday night for the first time since the senior hurlers' disappointing championship exit.
"The last communication from Jimmy was in Thurles when he said he said he was looking forward to next year," stated Cork board PRO Edmond Forrest. "I have had no other communication from him and until he comes along and says otherwise, that is what he put on the record."
Three weeks have passed since Cork were beaten 2-28 to 0-22 by Galway in the All-Ireland quarter-final in Thurles, having lost to Waterford in the Munster Championship. This followed an earlier surprise defeat to Waterford in the National League final.
Immediately after losing to Galway, Barry-Murphy was interviewed by RTé and asked about his future plans. Twice he told his interviewer that he was "looking forward to next year", but it was unclear if this was a reliable declaration of his intentions. Under his guidance, Cork reached the 2013 All-Ireland hurling final, which they lost to Clare after a replay.
Forrest said there were no plans to discuss the hurling team's performances at Tuesday's meeting. Items on the agenda include the senior football management vacancy and further vacancies at minor football and hurling level.
"Jimmy has signed up for a two-year term," said Forrest. "If he intended on stepping down, I think he would have intimated that at the time or within days, the same as Brian Cuthbert (senior football manager). I can only go on what he (Barry-Murphy) said on the record that night and he was quite emphatic. He was asked twice on camera."
Last year, Cork won the Munster hurling title for the first time since 2006, but they suffered a tame exit in the All-Ireland semi-final against Tipperary. The team has had trouble putting together a consistent line of form.
Next year will mark the tenth anniversary of Cork's last All-Ireland senior win and some have pointed the finger at the county's poor record at underage level. Their last All-Ireland at minor grade was in 2001.
Barry-Murphy endured some difficult years during his first spell as county senior manager before winning the All-Ireland senior title in 1999. He left a year later after Cork lost to Offaly in a surprise All-Ireland semi-final defeat.
Another source close to the team said he had not heard Barry-Murphy declare any intention to stand down.
If they win, Tipperary qualify for a fifth All-Ireland final appearance in seven years. Repeat the trick next year, six in eight, and they'll equal the teams of 1958-65, from the most acclaimed period in the county's tradition. Something about that not sound right? There is an important difference, of course, in that the hurlers of Jimmy Doyle's time won five of the six All-Ireland finals played. This generation has won once.