Fantastic article in the Irish Times today from former Cork manager John Allen - Pray democracy is finally coming to the Cork GAA. Any Cork fans reading this piece won't be able to deny the truth in Allen's words in the opening paragraphs, where he recounts the successes and solidarity of the 2003-2006 seasons.
Reading through his comments recalls the excitement of those four finals in a row - losing to Kilkenny first before stopping their three-in-a-row in 2004, winning again the following year before Kilkenny came back to deny us in kind. As a formerly football focused Corkonian,those years under the guidance of Donal O'Grady and then Allen himself, were a turning point in my preferences. That team should be going down in history as one of the finest ever to play, not being derided as troublemakers.John Allen worked with the panel all through the period, two years as a selector and two as manager. The fact that they were getting beaten by nine points in an All-Ireland semi-final just two years after his tenure ended is testament to the regression in Cork hurling in that period.
Now that the county board has agreed to meet the club chairmen next week the hope I (and all Cork fans) maintain is that this chapter can be brought to a close.
The 2008 panel must return to the fold under a new management team - mixed with those currently playing under McCarthy where appropriate - and Cork are somewhat competitive in the 2009 championship. In reality this year is a washout for the Rebels, but if the board gets their way, Cork will be in the doldrums for many seasons to come.