Cork hurlers need a new man at the helm, after John Meyler walked away following quarter-final heartbreak against Kilkenny this year. Given that the county board have never made an external appointment, who are the five most likely Leesiders to step up to the plate?
The Rock is a cult hero in Cork, renowned for his bulldozing approach in defence during the glory years of Rebel hurling. He distanced himself from the role a few years ago, but now could prove the right time. The Cloyne man was a selector during the Kieran Kingston era, and could well be the man to get the best out of players he has previously worked with, as the wait for Liam McCarthy goes on.
At grassroots level, Ring is the ideal candidate, the man lives and breathes Cork hurling. He has guided the Rebels to success at both underage codes and has worked in close proximity with the conveyor belt of talent for a number of years. His credentials will be done no harm should the Rebels topple Tipperary in the All-Ireland U-20 final in a few weeks’ time, with many treating the game as Ring’s audition for top spot.
Perhaps a surprise inclusion, but O’Connor has had a good start to management, bringing Charleville to the All-Ireland Intermediate Club Final, which is no easy feat. A born winner and a popular choice among supporters, it is unlikely O’Connor will land the job, but he is certainly one for the future for the Cork County Board to watch.
Ryan’s situation is very similar to the Rock’s, but having won two county honours with Sarsfield’s, his CV has an added boost. Involved in the set up under Kingston, Ryan is experienced in abundance and looks more than capable of handling the pressure that comes with the role. He may not be an A-lister, but what he would bring is experience and knowledge that others may lack.
Donal Og Cusack
The former Rebels keeper has stated his interest in the press, but an appointment seems unlikely given his consistent criticism of the county in recent years. He was involved in Davy Fitzgerald’s background team with Clare, and as a cult hero of sorts in Cork, his appointment would certainly raise more than a few eyebrows. A born winner on the field, and one who refuses to hold his tongue, it would be interesting to see if he could back up his words when given a crack in a major management position.