Keith Ricken to take charge of Cork senior footballers

By Pat Nolan

Keith Ricken is to become the next Cork senior football manager.

Ricken, who has managed the county’s under-20 side in recent years, will succeed Ronan McCarthy on a two-year term, which will be ratified at the next county board meeting.

The St Vincent’s man will be joined by Micheál Ó Cróinín (Naomh Abán), Ray Keane (MTU/St Finbarr’s), James Loughrey (St Brigid’s/Mallow), Barry Corkery (Éire Óg) and Des Cullinane (St Nicholas) as selectors, while a coach will be announced at a later stage.

The charismatic Ricken should prove to be a popular appointment. He guided Cork to Munster and All-Ireland under-20 titles in his first year in charge in 2019 and won another provincial title this year before losing the All-Ireland semi-final to eventual champions Offaly.

He has earned plaudits for the positive manner in which he sets his teams up to play, along with his colourful media interviews.

Several of the 2019 under-20 side have graduated to the senior panel in the meantime and having also won the All-Ireland minor title two years ago, there appears to be sufficient talent emerging in Cork to allow them to compete at a higher level than has been the case in recent years.

Going further back, Ricken was at the helm when CIT won their only Sigerson Cup in 2009 and has had success with his own club at intermediate level. He works as the GAA officer in the college, now called Munster Technological University, and wasn’t believed to have been interested in replacing McCarthy once it emerged that the county board was looking elsewhere.

But he threw his hat in the ring and has seen off a number of candidates, including Bobbie O’Dwyer and John Fintan Daly.

Ricken inherits a Cork side in Division Two of the Allianz League but smarting from a record 22-point defeat to Kerry in this year’s Munster final, having shocked Peter Keane’s side in the provincial semi-final last November before losing to Tipperary.

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