Doug Howlett is a legend of New Zealand. A famed All-Black who still holds the nations all-time try-scoring record, but he’s also a Munster legend and indeed a Cork legend.
Howlett has remained in Cork ever-since retiring from professional rugby because such is his fame in his native New Zealand, he can live a more peaceful life in the Rebel County.
The former Munster man is back in the sporting spotlight once more but in the unfamiliar role as high-performance lead with the Cork hurling squad.
When discussing the recent appointment, Cork legend and Paddy Power brand ambassador, Diarmuid O’Sullivan, questioned why the Rebel County had failed to hold on to Gary Keegan.
“Gary Keegan left the role and is one of the most sought-after guys in the country in relation to sports performance. My question would be why Cork failed to secure the services of Gary Keegan again?” O’Sullivan told Paddy Power News.
“As for Doug Howlett, he’s going to bring his experience to the table. He’s still the record leading try scorer for the All-Blacks.
“What he did for Munster when he came to this country is nothing short of phenomenal and he’s held in very high esteem throughout the world. So it would be interesting to see his role with Cork be more defined and more attached as the summer rolls on.”
The mystery surrounding Gary Keegan’s tenure isn’t the only controversy following Cork GAA at the minute as issues regarding the recently developed, Páirc Uí Chaoimh continues to rumble on.
O’Sullivan believes we need to let the people who are appointed to fix it, fix it and until they fail in doing so, we should leave them alone.
“We know there’s problems there, you are going to have sniping and bitching about it,” O’Sullivan said.
“People have been appointed to sort these problems out. It needs to be put to rest, leave these guys who have been appointed to solve these issues get on with their business. In 12 month’s time if these issues aren’t sorted, then everyone is entitled to ask questions and all bets are off.”
While ‘The Rock’ has long been viewed as one of the most interesting personalities within the GAA, however, his father Jerry has arguably an even more interesting story to tell.
The Cloyne club man recently threw his hat into the ring for the GAA presidency and has come a long way from taking over the reins at the famed Cork club when he was 24-years-old.
For O’Sullivan Jr, it’s a case of “nothing ventured, nothing gained”.
“The man’s dedication to GAA throughout his entire life, since he was 24 and he took over the chairmanship of the Cloyne club when it was in dire trouble and while he was still playing. From an early age, he always enjoyed the politics of the GAA and had the ambition to be involved in top tables.” O’Sullivan said.
“He’s put his hat in the ring now and as I said to him “nothing ventured, nothing gained”. He’s always said, “if you don’t take a chance at something, you’ll never know.” He’s entitled to take his opportunity to run, he’s served his time right through from our own club to Cork and the Munster Council. It’s not like he’d be coming into the presidency raw or cold. He spent a lot of time deliberating over whether he should or not. He deserves the chance to run for it and we’re delighted he has.”
The elder statesman of the O’Sullivan clan was also instrumental throughout the player disputes that ripped through the heart of Cork GAA back in the noughties.
“I don’t like bringing this up, but he was also involved in some of the debacles in the Cork players disputes down through the years and I believe he’s come through them brilliantly.
“He dealt with them in a very capable manner. He’s overseen change in the Munster Council as chairman and he’s dealt with some of the harder issues in terms of player welfare in Cork, so the man is well versed in what he needs to do. All we can do is support him in his venture and do that as much we can. It’s his dream to do it.
“He went from the chairman of Cloyne to Imokilly (East Cork board) on to Cork and then onto the Munster Council. He sat on all the smaller positions and he’s work his way through the ladder, it’s not like he jumped from naught to 100 here! He’s sat, bided his time and learned other roles within the system.”