GAA Football

Ex-Antrim ace James Loughrey part of new Cork management team

James Loughrey first played for Cork in 2013 after relocating to the Rebel County due to work and family commitments. Picture by Philip Walsh
Neil Loughran

FORMER Antrim footballer James Loughrey has been included on the managerial ticket that looks poised to take the reins in Cork.

A five-person selection committee has recommended that the county executive propose Keith Ricken’s appointment on a two-year term, although his appointment still has to be ratified at a full county board meeting.

Loughrey is among the selectors listed, alongside Micheál Ó Cróinín, Ray Keane - brother of former Kerry boss Peter - Barry Corkery and Des Cullinane, with a coach to be announced at a later date.

It sees Loughrey return to his adopted county, having only called time on his inter-county career with Cork earlier this year.

The St Brigid’s clubman began his county career with Antrim in 2007, playing in the Saffrons’ Tommy Murphy Cup final defeat to Wicklow that summer.

Loughrey was there when Antrim gained revenge over the Garden County the following year, and was a central figure in Liam Bradley’s class of ’09 as the Saffrons stunned Donegal and Cavan en route to a first provincial decider in 39 years, eventually losing out to defending All-Ireland champions Tyrone.

After helping Ulster to a Railway Cup triumph in 2012, work and family commitments saw Loughrey transfer to Mallow months later. Conor Counihan eventually asked him into the Cork panel, and the Belfast man was one of the county’s top performers before calling time in May.

And, despite turning out for St Brigid’s in this year’s Antrim SFC, Loughrey now looks set to take his first steps in inter-county management under Ricken.

St Vincent’s clubman Ricken led the Cork U20s to the All-Ireland title in 2019 and a second Munster crown this year. He also led Cork IT to their sole Sigerson Cup success in 2009.

Ricken will succeed Ronan McCarthy, who secured a surprise Munster win over Kerry in 2020 but whose tenure was cut short last month after a disappointing 2021 effort.

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GAA Football