Niall Cahalane shares his theory on why Cork football has declined

Cork All Ireland winner and Tony Davis discussed the issue on Off The Ball's Skibbereen Roadshow

BY Raf Diallo 21:00 Thursday 27 July 2017, 21:00 27 Jul 2017

Niall Cahalane (Cork) © INPHO / Lorraine O'Sullivan

Damien Cahalane is currently shining for a Cork hurling team within another victory of an All Ireland final after taking Munster honours 20 days ago.

Tonight his father, two time All Ireland Football Championship winning Niall Cahalane joined Off The Ball in Skibbereen for our OTB Skibb Roadshow.

Alongside him on stage were his former Cork team-mate Anthony 'Tony' Davis and current Cork panel member Ryan Price, both Skibbereen natives.

Cahalane and Davis, who both featured in a Cork era that challenged at the highest level, discussed the general downturn in fortunes for the Rebels, with the last All Ireland triumph having come in 2010. 

"Look, I've my own thoughts on the whole thing and I think that the demise of football in Cork almost went with the demise of the Catholic Church," said Cahalane. 

"We had a marvelous - Anthony and myself, he would have gone to St. Fachtna's run by Christian Brothers. De La Salle, we had a guy Joe Neill there who was excellent.

"You can only do so much in the clubs. They're only foot soldiers there - guys who come home from work everyday and coach kids in the local club. When you go into the secondary school then in September, you're in there until May again, early June or whatever and I think we never filled that void in an awful lot of towns and in the north and south side of the city.

Tony Davis of Cork back in 1990 ©INPHO/Alan Betson

"And I think until we do that and we get our secondary schools very strong and very competitive, we're not winning Corn Ui Mhuires and haven't been for a number of years and for a long, long time, Cork were very dominant. Until we replace that - and I think the Community Schools that we have now haven't been as active and as successful as the Christian Brothers and their teachers were at that time." 

He feels the solution is for schools to work more closely with the county board in terms of coaching.

On what is currently going on with the Cork footballers, Davis called for long-term thinking, as well as sorting out the issues in regards to club fixtures.

"Whoever gets the job, two years just isn't enough now at this stage. So the last two managers, Brian Cuthbert and Peadar got two years. So every two years they build a certain amount and they bring in their own team of strength and conditioning coaches, their own fitness coaches. It must be longer than that. There must be a longer term strategy," he said, adding that things should be viewed from the younger age categories all the way up the ladder and that the "base" and "structure" will be there regardless of how long the managers remain in place.

"There needs to be a bigger picture rather than just who comes in for the next two years."

You can listen to the full chat on the podcast player or stream/download/subscribe on iTunes.

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