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Cuthbert's open mind on club action makes sense


Cork manager Brian Cuthbert

Cork manager Brian Cuthbert


Cork manager Brian Cuthbert

New Cork manager Brian Cuthbert is quickly becoming my favourite GAA manager. We had him on the show before Christmas and he outlined his plans for a more direct kicking game for Cork, in contrast to the more laboured build-up play we have become accustomed to from them.

Unlike some other inflexible county managers, Cuthbert has no problem accommodating his two high-profile dual players, Aidan Walsh and Eoin Cadogan, who want to play both codes.

Now he has announced that his squad players, not involved for the county on a given Sunday, have permission to play with their clubs the day before.

"For a long time, I've seen guys on squads not getting on the team and going three months without any matches. They've no chance for improvement then. It's vital, the way our training works, that everybody plays a game every weekend," he said.

This has long been a bugbear of mine. It reminds me of a funny (not so funny for me) story on the subject from back in 2006 when I had fallen out of favour with Laois manager Mick O'Dwyer.

Before a qualifier game against Tyrone I was denied permission to play with my club Portlaoise by the management, being told I might be used on the day. However, another squad member, Shane Cooke, was granted permission to play with his club St Mary's Saggart.

Shane ended up scoring 1-8 in the club game and was brought on against Tyrone the next day, while I sat warming the bench.

When I questioned Micko on how Shane ended up ahead of me in the pecking order, he replied – with a straight face – "he played great for his club".

Irish Independent