The news that Kieran Kingston has decided to decline a further two-year term as manager of the Cork Senior Hurling team and depart the role has sent shockwaves through the Rebel county.
Here, we look at the men who could be in line to replace the Tracton native in the Leeside dugout.
Meyler was a selector under Kingston and took charge of the Cork u-21 team this year, guiding them to a Munster final. Although his charges came up just short against Limerick in the Gaelic Grounds, who were eventual All-Ireland winners, the St. Finbarr’s clubman was highly regarded within that camp.
Knowing and having worked closely with the youngsters who Kingston brought through to senior ranks and built the new-look 2017 Cork team around, such as Mark Coleman, Darragh Fitzgibbon, Luke Meade and Shane Kingston, will only work in Meyler’s favour when the selection committee sit down to appoint a new bainisteoir.
After all, these young stars are the players who will shape the future of Cork hurling fortunes.
If Meyler is to make the step up from u-21 to senior management for the Rebels, it won’t be his first tilt at senior inter-county management, having previously taken charge of Kerry (twice), Wexford and Carlow.
Rumours were rife across inner-Cork GAA circles this week that Kingston would indeed be stepping down from his position and passing the mantle on to someone new. When news broke that Pat Hartnett, a selector and ally of Kingston, would not be continuing in his role beyond this season, speculation over the manager’s future intensified.
While Hartnett and Kingston have now both exited stage left, O’Sullivan remains at the scene.
It is difficult to see why ‘The Rock’ would hesitate to jump at the opportunity, given the leaps and bounds the team made forward under the guidance of his coaching and Kingston’s management this year.
The legendary full-back may be ready to take the hot seat, having been heavily involved as a selector the past two seasons.
Again, similarly to the two candidates above, Ryan served as a member of Kingston’s backroom management team in 2016 and 2017.
With the boss leaving the camp, the Cork County Board should recognise how crucially important it is that there is not a clean sweep of the management team. If every one of the backroom team of 2017’s successful campaign decide to call it a day, it could worryingly be back to square one for the Rebels and their followers next summer.
The selection committee will realise some of the familiar faces must hang around the camp for at least another year, for the players’ sake.
Ryan is well respected within the squad and has quite the pedigree in Cork hurling circles, having guided his club, Sarsfields, to county championship glory.
Will Cork go against their traditional grain and look outside their county borders to appoint their new boss? It is highly unlikely, simply because that is not how Cork do their business. They never have.
However, with Daly having just recently departed his role as Underage Games Development Officer in Limerick, the stars may be aligning for these hurling superpowers to collaborate.
He is being touted for a return to the dugout in Dublin, with whom he enjoyed a relatively successful six-year stint up until 2014. In saying that, it would be fair to assume that a new challenge, with a team poised in a much better position than Dublin to make a stab at Liam MacCarthy Cup glory in 2017, should have ‘Dalo’ rubbing his hands.
An RTÉ Sunday Game colleague of Daly’s, the same principles apply.
Sheedy may be an obscure candidate purely because of his nativity, but as an All-Ireland winning manager in 2010, the Tipp man would be welcomed with open arms by the Cork public who demand the highest standards from their hurlers.
The ex-Premier boss has been out of inter-county management since that triumph over Brian Cody’s charges who were chasing an unprecedented five All-Ireland titles in a row. If there was ever a challenge to draw him back into the game, a resurgent, youthful, pacey and potentially lethal Rebel side could do the trick.
Will the Cork County Board’s selection committee venture to uncharted territory in appointing a foreigner? Time will tell.
Make sure to check out the latest episode of The 16th Man, where we look back on the All-Ireland football final.