Cork footballer, Cian Kiely, believes the sport can return to its former glory in the county if the team are given time to build.
2018 was a dismal year for the Rebels following a hefty 17-point loss to Kerry in the Munster final before exiting the championship at the hands of Tyrone in the qualifying stage.
In comparison, the Cork hurlers claimed back-to-back Munster Championship titles and reached the All Ireland semi-final.
While Kiely admits that hurling is the most dominant sport in the county, he doesn’t believe that it has contributed to the negativity surrounding the football team.
“Hurling is the dominant sport in Cork at the moment, obviously with how fantastic the hurlers are doing. They’re obviously breeding players and there’s fantastic young lads coming through and it’s working for them.”
“I wouldn’t say there’s much negativity as there is just more emphasis put on the hurling. Any negativity that comes, I think it’s more so the fact that emphasis is placed on hurling.”
“It’s kind of part of the game, maybe not a part I agree with, but it’s not going to be eliminated either.”
Kiely made his senior debut for the Rebels during that loss to Tyrone, having starred for the county at underage level. He maintains that when fellow underage players settle into life as a senior, Cork will begin to come right, if they stick to their plans.
“You had a lot of young people coming in which was definitely needed. There were a lot of people getting to know each other, getting to know the new systems.”
“It’s a big transition from U20s up to senior. We definitely have the right manager, coaches, everything in place. They’re doing fantastic work. There’s a lot of training and hard sessions going in. It’s something that comes with time, it’ll build.”
“Same with anyway as you gain momentum and keep working, I think it will definitely come around and hopefully we’re going in the right direction.”
Earlier this week, Cork County Board published their five-year plan to improve football in the county. One of the aims is to ensure Cork are All-Ireland contenders at all football grades within five years, while it also promises an overhaul of the county’s club competition.
The plan, 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 and All-Ireland Minor winning captain Brian Cuthbert and County Chairperson Tracey Kennedy, also seeks to address “the growing disconnect” between Cork supporters and Cork football teams.
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