Newly appointed Cork senior football manager Brian Cuthbert is confident that his side can mount a realistic challenge for the All-Ireland title next year.
Cuthbert was appointed to the Cork hotseat on Tuesday, replacing former manager Conor Counihan with whom he worked as a selector.
Expectations will be high going into the new season and Cuthbert believes that under his stewardship, the Rebels can be among those fighting for the Sam Maguire next year.
“If you look at Cork’s history in football, since 1945 we’ve won the All-Ireland five times. There’s many, many reasons for that but our last victory was in 2010 which isn’t that far away,” he said.
“The thing is with Cork and with maybe another four or five counties, I think there’s very little between the very top of the pile and on any given day any of those teams can beat each other.
“If you look at our game against Dublin we had opportunities to get goals that we didn’t get. I know that Dublin has plenty of chances to get goals too but I think on any given day, once you prepare right, Cork will challenge the very best teams.”
"I suppose for me, success would be that our supporters would be looking at a team that they would be immensely proud of" - Brian Cuthbert
He continued: “The easy thing to do is just to say straight out that we want to win the All-Ireland.
"But I suppose for me, success would be that our supporters would be looking at a team that they would be immensely proud of, that will represent the best virtues of Cork GAA...and that the team would go out week after week and give 100%.
“I think if you get to that level and if you marry that to a strong ethos and an absolute scientific approach to out preparation, I think you’re in a good place. By doing those three or four things you put yourself in a position that you might challenge for silverware and if you don’t, you go back and you say ‘what do we need to do better?’
“Cork can challenge any team on any given day once they are right. But at the same time I’m absolutely realistic that only one team is going to lift Sam in September and what we need to do is just make sure we are in the hunt.”
The Bishopstown club man was manager of the Cork Minors in 2010 and 2011, winning the Munster title in 2010 and reaching the All-Ireland final in the same year and he believes his experience at minor level and relationship with many of the current Cork squad will help him settle in immediately.
“There’s a lot of them [players[ that I worked very closely with as minors and last year Conor Counihan gave me the opportunity to come in with him and I work with all of the players who played last year,” he said.
“There are good players coming through our systems here in Cork and with seven new starters last year there could be one or two thrown into the mix this year and then you’re looking at, within the space of 12 months, nine or ten new players in the team."