Ratified Pat Ryan will do an ‘excellent job’, predicts Marc Sheehan

Pat Ryan was ratified as the new Cork senior hurling manager on Tuesday night, but there was no unveiling of his backroom team, which has yet to be finalized.

Following Ryan’s ratification at last night’s Cork County Board meeting, county chairman Marc Sheehan expressed his view that the two-time All-Ireland U20 winning manager will do an “excellent job” in the senior post.

Cork CEO Kevin O’Donovan said Ryan’s record “speaks for itself” and it was a case of “onwards and upwards” for the Cork senior hurlers.

Outside of Killeagh delegate Damien Irwin’s praise for the outgoing Kieran Kingston, no delegate asked a single question regarding Kingston’s resignation or the 24-hour turnaround to the announcement of his successor.

“I think Pat will do an excellent job and I wish him every success,” said Sheehan. “We look forward to finalizing the backroom team and we hope to have that finalized and ratified at the next county board meeting at the beginning of August.”

O’Donovan noted the disappointment that Cork’s year, across both codes and filtering down through the age-grades, had concluded without the accumulation of more silverware beyond the Munster MFC title, but that “hope springs eternal”. He also paid tribute to the “dignity” Kingston brought to the role of Cork senior hurling manager.

“It’s a hugely pressurized position and we all have our views on who should be playing where, but I think he represented the county really, really well,” said O’Donovan.

“Onwards and upwards. We welcome Pat Ryan on board. We’ve all worked with Pat in the past on this board. His record speaks for itself and we’ll be getting going with him soon. ”

The sole contributor from the floor, Killeagh delegate and former Cork hurler Damien Irwin said Kingston had left the county in a healthier position from when he first got involved as a selector under Jimmy Barry-Murphy a decade ago.

“As a selector, coach, and manager, as a talent finder, as a launcher of teenage careers, and as a highly dignified man through all that, he leaves us in a far better place than the teams he would have inherited back eight, nine, 10 years ago.

“We played in three All-Ireland finals when he was involved. We had a disappointing day in Croke Park last year, but prior to that, we had a great day against Kilkenny. A lot of Cork teams have crashed into the Kilkenny bus over the years, but his didn’t.

“Nobody would believe the hours he put into it over the years. He won’t tell anyone about that either, he is not that kind of guy.

“As Kieran steps down now, I think Pat Ryan will be a hugely popular choice, as well. Another man of great integrity and dignity. ”

Discussing the application for planning permission for more than 300 houses on the Kilbarry land it owns on the northside of Cork city, O’Donovan thanked the voluntary contribution of the O’Flynn Group who he said had saved Cork GAA “a small fortune in terms of project designers and engineers ”.

Cork GAA confirmed last Friday that it was applying to An Bord Pleanála for a strategic housing development on 36.5 acres of land in Kilbarry for the development of 319 housing units. Should their planning application be successful, the site will then be sold to service the debts arising from the € 96m redevelopment of Páirc Uí Chaoimh.

As of September last year, the stadium debt stood at € 29.7m, € 21.8m of that owed to Bank of Ireland.

“Once planning comes through, hopefully, that will go for sale and it will make a big contribution to stadium debt, which we all want to clear as soon as possible,” the CEO told the meeting.

“I would have to acknowledge a huge voluntary contribution by the O’Flynn Group. Lest anyone get their wires crossed about O’Flynn Group’s involvement in this project, their group are acting on a fully voluntary capacity bringing what is a greenfield into a fully formed designed planning application, with full drawings.

“The minute that is sold, then the O’Flynn Group will have no further involvement in the project. It is an incredible debt for them to pay us, to give us that service that would cost us a small fortune in terms of project designers and engineers and so on.

“It will be sold, hopefully, to another developer and reap a rich dividend for the county. We’d hope all of that will move in the next three to six months. There has been work on it for about 18 months to two years, and it has been brought to a very healthy state now. ”

With the Cork County Championships throwing in later this month, delegates were informed that a small number of “hard tickets” would be made available to clubs in the run up to games. Clubs can sell them for cash to members who might struggle to access tickets online, and then pass the money back to the board.

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