Conor commits to Cork ... but puts no pressure on his old guard
CONOR Counihan finally ended speculation about his managerial future by agreeing to extend his tenure with the Cork footballers by two years and immediately set his All-Ireland winning squad the goal of avoiding complacency as they seek to build on this year's success.
Counihan guided the Rebels to their first Sam Maguire triumph since 1990 last month but feels there remains a well of untapped potential in the county and is challenging his players to match his ambition for 2011.
"Complacency cannot enter into the equation for us going forward just because we've won the All-Ireland," Counihan said. "If you look at this county's record in All-Irelands, we've won an average amount and have had to wait for long periods in between those successes. That's not good enough. It's up to us management and players to raise the benchmark there now.
"You'd like to believe that there is more potential in this squad. We'd hope that we can help fully express it and that they can achieve more. There is a good situation in Cork football at underage but a lot of that is down to the great work being done by the underage selection committees.
Now that their manager has committed himself for next season, all eyes on Leeside will turn to the elder statesmen of the squad such as Anthony Lynch, Alan Quirke, John Miskella and Nicholas Murphy to see if they are prepared to give another year to the cause but Counihan reckons there is plenty of time for make up their minds.
"I think this time of the year isn't the time to be making decisions on futures," he said. "There is no immediate pressure on players. January is soon enough to be thinking about all of that.
"You look at last year, some of our players got injured early on in the year which limited their participation in the league but they went on to have very important roles in the championship. I haven't spoken to any of the players yet but over the next couple of weeks, we'll start getting around to that."
Dual player, Eoin Cadogan, who started the All-Ireland football final, welcomed the news that Counihan had signed an extension.
"We'll be looking to build on our success this year and it'll be hard, everyone will want to beat the champions," said Cadogan. "Conor is the ideal man to have there, he's seen it all and done it all and he knows what that is like from his own playing days, being on the team everyone wants to beat. It's great news."