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Cork manager to step down

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Mark Jones

DUBLIN — Following much speculation since his county’s shock loss to Offaly in the All-Ireland semifinal, Jimmy Barry-Murphy is now almost certain to step down as Cork hurling manager. The news should break this week with Barry-Murphy stepping aside after five years in charge.

It is believed he announced his intention to quit in the immediate aftermath of the Offaly game last August, and while he is due to meet with the Cork county secretary, Frank Murphy, to discuss the issue, all the indications are that Barry-Murphy will not now be persuaded to change his mind.

He has one more year at the helm if he wants it, but Barry-Murphy has been involved with Cork teams at various levels since 1993 and, as county chairman Jim Cronin said: "It would be foolish to try to persuade somebody who’s given so much to stay on if he didn’t want to."

Cork’s haul of silverware during Barry-Murphy’s tenure included the 1999 All-Ireland title, as well as a National League success and two Munster championships. The two main contenders in the managerial succession stakes appear to be Bertie Og Murphy, who coached the Under 21 team to All-Ireland glory in 1997 and ’98, and Tom Cashman, who has been a selector at minor and senior levels for the past eight years.

Compensation an issue

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The thorny issue of cash raised its head at the inaugural Gaelic Players’ Association Annual General meeting in Killarney last weekend, when there was a call for the players to be paid adequate expenses by the GAA.

"Croke Park feels it’s up to the county boards to look after players and treat them properly," said Dessie Farrell, who was elected as the association’s first chairman. "But some county boards don’t have the resources, while with others that do, you’re depending on their generosity."

Essentially, the demand for players not to be out of pocket for playing intercounty football and hurling was once again near the top of the agenda. However, the GPA were also seeking a meeting with the GAA authorities as soon as possible.

With Farrell, Kerry’s All-Ireland football winning captain, Seamus Moynihan, and Clare hurler Jamesie O’Connor elected as its first officers, the GPA stressed it is time the GAA agrees to a meeting now that the association was being led by high-profile players.

Equally, the rebel GPA also passed a motion in Killarney that Farrell be co-opted onto the official GAA players’ committee – the group sanctioned by Croke Park – which is chaired by former Armagh footballer Jarlath Burns.

"I think both assocations can assist each other," Farrell said. "If the GAA was to allow a member of our committee onto theirs it would be brilliant and we could move forward from there."

Just over 40 players attended the AGM – a mere 10 percent of the membership claimed by the association. However, chief administrator Donal O’Neill rejected suggestions that it was a poor turnout and blamed the weekend fixture program instead. On that topic, O’Neill said the GPA would be pushing for a closed season in football.

Predictably, Moynihan and Kilkenny hurler D.J. Carey won the Player of the Year awards, to add to equivalent honors from the GAA writers.

Bellaghy win Ulster title

With the bleak prospect of a third Ulster club football final defeat in four years hanging over them, Bellaghy came through to set the record straight with an emphatic 1-10 to 1-4 victory over Errigal Ciaran in last Sunday’s decider at Clones.

Following Crossmaglen Rangers’ dominance, it was the Derry club’s turn to collect a first Ulster title since 1994, and while Errigal Ciaran offered a challenge, the result was never in doubt as Bellaghy were superior in every department. The Tyrone champions were always under pressure and if Bellaghy’s shooting had been more accurate, the margin would have been even more comprehensive.

Not even the class of Peter Canavan could swing the game Errigal Ciaran’s way, and with Gavin Diamond taking his free chances and with Cathal Scullion scoring the game’s decisive goal in the 54th minute, Bellaghy were able to relax before the final whistle.

Meanwhile, Corofin took the Galway football title when they edged out Killanin by 1-3 to 0-3 in a rain-lashed contest at Tuam. Inspired by Ray Silke, Corofin scored an all-important goal through Shane Conlisk before the break, and although the winners failed to score during the second half, they held out to take their sixth title in nine years.

Mullingar Shamrocks also had to brave appalling conditions on their way to a 1-5 to 0-2 victory over Tyrellspass in the Westmeath final at Cusack Park.

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