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5 year football plan unveiled

Wednesday, 9th January, 2019 5:05pm

The disconnect between the fans and the Cork football team is one of the major items that is to be addressed over the next five years.

That's the intention of a sub-committee, established by the Cork County Board, who revealed its five year strategic plan, entitled '#2024 – A Five-Year Plan for Cork Football' at Páirc Uí Chaoimh yesterday.

The plan hopes to increase support for Cork football teams, by reigniting the passion of people and re-engage their support.

Graham Canty, Conor Counihan, Brian Cuthbert and County Chairperson Tracey Kennedy, members of the sub-committee, were all in attendance at yesterday's launch.

Clubs, schools, people and administration are at the forefront of the strategic plan which has been devised after a dismal number of years for the Cork footballers. The seniors have defeated only so called 'weaker teams' Tipperary, Clare, Limerick, Longford and Sligo in the championship in the last five years, while the county has not reached the last eight since 2014.

Improvements include the profile of the intercounty footballers growing ‘significantly’ within one to two years while a clear player development pathway will be created by the end of 2019, which aims to produce a regular supply of quality footballers within the next five years.

Other measures include the appointments of high-quality coaches who will be available in all clubs, along with a support network for those club coaches led by the county games development staff, by the end of 2024.

There are also changes afoot, too, for the county championships which are expected to be in place within three years, including the immediate re-introduction of automatic relegation in all levels of the championship.

Reflecting the many concerns about Cork football, more than 100 submissions were made to the sub-committee.

Commenting on the launch, Conor Counihan highlighted the importance of buy-in to the plan at grassroots level, saying: “I think the resources being applied will be of major benefit but these are worth nothing without the support of the people on the ground. This is an opportunity which we all need to embrace for the good of Cork football.”

All-Ireland winning captain Canty concurred: “I believe that with the full support of our clubs, administration, players and supporters, this plan offers Cork football an opportunity to once again scale the heights in the club and intercounty arena.”

Brian Cuthbert reflected: “This plan affords Cork football a synergy that will allow us to maximise our full potential. Key appointments, allied to new structures at club, county and administrative levels will provide all of our stakeholders with a pathway that is co-ordinated and properly resourced. This is a time of opportunity that will require huge work but more importantly, it will require us all to put our own self-interests second to the greater good of football within our county.”

County Chairperson Tracey Kennedy said: “It is incumbent on us, as one of the top GAA counties in terms of size and overall success, to lead the way also in terms of innovation. We need a complete culture shift if Cork football is to be truly successful, and as the plan acknowledges, the support of all stakeholders is vital for its success. I hope that the entire Cork GAA family will join us in working together for the good of Cork football. Cultural change is a slow process so the sooner it begins, the better.”

The County Board Executive has considered the plan and will recommend it for approval at the next County Board meeting on 29 January.

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