A new vi­sion for Rebel foot­ball un­veiled by the Cork County Board

The Corkman - - FRONT PAGE -

A RE­JU­VE­NA­TION of club foot­ball in the county has been ear­marked as one of the key pri­or­i­ties by the au­thors of a new long-term plan to de­velop foot­ball in the county, which was re­leased on Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon.

The plan, en­ti­tled #2024 – A Five-Year

Plan for Cork Foot­ball, pro­poses “the re-in­tro­duc­tion of au­to­matic rel­e­ga­tion in all lev­els of club cham­pi­onship and the de­vel­op­ment of a rigidly-en­forced fix­tures cal­en­dar for each full year for all foot­ballers from Ju­nior to Se­nior level in Cork”.

The plan was de­vel­oped by for­mer All-Ire­land win­ning Cork Se­nior cap­tain, Gra­ham Canty, for­mer All-Ire­land win­ning player and man­ager, Conor Couni­han, for­mer Cork Se­nior and Mi­nor foot­ball man­ager, All-Ire­land Mi­nor win­ning cap­tain Brian Cuth­bert and County Chair­per­son Tracey Kennedy.

Re­flect­ing the many con­cerns about Cork foot­ball, which were ev­i­dent in more than a hun­dred sub­mis­sions made to the sub-com­mit­tee and ex­pressed by var­i­ous stake­hold­ers con­sulted, the plan seeks to im­prove par­tic­i­pa­tion and per­for­mance across all lev­els of Gaelic foot­ball in Cork and will de­liver the fol­low­ing out­comes over the five-year pe­riod be­tween 2019 and 2024:

– Cork will be reg­u­lar All-Ire­land con­tenders in all grades of in­ter-county foot­ball, in­clud­ing club cham­pi­onships, within three to five years;

– Sup­port for Cork foot­ball and the pro­file of our in­ter-county foot­ballers will grow sig­nif­i­cantly within one to two years;

– A clear player de­vel­op­ment path­way will be cre­ated by the end of 2019, pro­duc­ing a reg­u­lar sup­ply of qual­ity foot­ballers within the next five years;

– High-qual­ity coaches with a strong fo­cus on de­vel­op­ing the fun­da­men­tal skills of the game 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;

– A county cham­pi­onship struc­ture which sup­ports this work will be in place within three years

– A clear over-arch­ing vi­sion/plan for foot­ball in Cork which is com­mu­ni­cated to and un­der­stood by all in­volved in the game; and

– A well-re­sourced ad­min­is­tra­tion fully sup­port­ive of this plan and driv­ing its suc­cess.

Out­side of the pro­pos­als for club com­pe­ti­tion, the re­port rec­om­mends a num­ber of in­no­va­tions in sports science and per­for­mance anal­y­sis and de­liv­ery.

The plan pro­poses the ap­point­ment of a Pro­ject Co-or­di­na­tor to en­sure its de­liv­ery; a High Per­for­mance Man­ager who will over­see and de­velop the sports science el­e­ments of team and ath­lete prepa­ra­tion nec­es­sary for ready­ing play­ers for the rigours of mod­ern in­ter-county hurl­ing and foot­ball; a Ta­lent Iden­ti­fi­ca­tion Man­ager to work on the player de­vel­op­ment path­way at un­der­age level; a ju­nior ad­min­is­tra­tor to sup­port the work of Rebel Óg, and a Me­dia Li­ai­son Of­fi­cer which will be an in­tern role work­ing on the pro­mo­tion of our se­nior foot­ball team.

It is also rec­om­mended that the de­liv­ery of some of the key strate­gies in re­la­tion to coach­ing and coach pro­vi­sion would form part of the du­ties of two im­mi­nent GDA ap­point­ments.

While the ma­jor­ity of these ap­point­ments have al­ready been bud­geted for and will ul­ti­mately re­sult in cost sav­ings due to economies of scale – it is en­vis­aged that the Ju­nior Ad­min­is­tra­tor role will be funded by Rebel Óg – the plan also in­cludes a fund­ing pil­lar with a view to gen­er­at­ing any ex­tra fi­nance that may be re­quired to sup­port the plan.

This plan also seeks to ad­dress an­other ma­jor con­cern in re­la­tion to Cork foot­ball: the grow­ing dis­con­nect be­tween Cork sup­port­ers and Cork foot­ball teams. In or­der to in­crease sup­port for our teams, we must reignite the pas­sion of our peo­ple and re-en­gage their sup­port.

“I would like to thank Conor, Gra­ham and Brian most sin­cerely for their in­volve­ment in the de­vel­op­ment of this plan,” County Chair­per­son Tracey Kennedy said on the re­port’s launch.

“Their pas­sion for and com­mit­ment to Cork foot­ball are un­de­ni­able and their knowl­edge, ex­pe­ri­ence and ex­per­tise are ev­i­dent through­out this plan. As I have said in my in­tro­duc­tion to the doc­u­ment, some of the strate­gies out­lined within it are eas­ily im­ple­mented and rooted in com­mon sense, while other as­pects are rad­i­cal and will re­quire a sig­nif­i­cant shift in think­ing, but every­thing pro­posed here has been care­fully con­sid­ered in terms of its long-term ben­e­fit to Cork foot­ball, and in­deed to Cork GAA.

“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.”

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