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