New Cork women’s football boss Shane Ronayne hoping to use all his Waterford men’s experience while juggling Mourneabbey

SHANE RONAYNE has learned to multi-task to great effect over the years — and while he will continue to do so, the new Cork ladies football manager’s biggest goal is clear.

Bringing the Brendan Martin Cup back to his native county for the first time since 2016.

Cork manager Eamonn Ryan celebrates with selector Shane Ronayne after the final whistle. TG4 All-Ireland Ladies Football Senior Championship Final in 2014

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Cork manager Eamonn Ryan celebrates with selector Shane Ronayne after the final whistle. TG4 All-Ireland Ladies Football Senior Championship Final in 2014Credit: Sportsfile

Ronayne turned 42 on Wednesday, hot on the heels of getting the job he always wanted. He will stay put with the Mourneabbey club for the start of his three-year term with Cork, having led them to six Munster titles and two club All-Irelands.

He was already with them the last time he went for the Cork job after being assistant boss and coach alongside the late Eamonn Ryan for the All-Ireland-winning campaigns of 2014 and 2015.

Ephie Fitzgerald got the nod in 2016 and Ronayne stayed put with Mourneabbey all the way through his stints in charge of the Tipperary ladies footballers — who he guided to two intermediate All-Irelands — and most recently the Waterford men’s team.

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It will be no less all-go in 2022 but the Mitchelstown man smiled: “I have always been involved in multiple teams and I have never had an issue with time or anything like that.

“I learned, especially over lockdown, you do need to take time for yourself.

“You have to be learning all the time when you are in management.”

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But his great familiarity with the Mourneabbey team will count for little when it comes to Cork’s All-Ireland hunt in 2022, with Ronayne insisting there will be no bias whatsoever.

He said: “I’ve never operated like that. I was involved with Cork when I was with UCC and there were Cork players sitting on the sideline and players from other counties playing. Same in schools, it didn’t matter where they were from.

“My sole ambition when we are playing games is to win them. I am going to put the best team on the field.

“The players from Mourneabbey are very aware of that. They know how I operate and how honest I am with them. There are no egos in Mourneabbey and there are no egos in Cork either. That has to be the way.”

DEISE-TINY

Ronayne has been clear that he would only have left the Waterford job for this Cork role and he admits he had to take the chance now.

The make-up of the knockout SFC was not tailored to the sort of growth he would have liked to oversee as he only got to manage the Déise in one Championship game, losing to Limerick.

He added: “Those Waterford lads are very honest. The whole set-up in Waterford, they were all excellent to work with. I had a fantastic relationship with them.

“But the opportunity came and if I didn’t go for this, whoever went in there as manager could be there for four or five years and you don’t know what is going to happen down the line.

“It wasn’t easy to leave, it was the start of a project, the timing was just unfortunate. Ideally, if the Cork job hadn’t been available for another year it would have been great to have another full year with them.”

That job was not Ronayne’s first connection to Waterford. His father Philip hails from there and it was he who got his son into coaching in the first place with the Mitchelstown Under-16s.

Waterford manager Shane Ronayne before the Munster GAA Football Senior Championship Quarter-Final match between Limerick and Waterford

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Waterford manager Shane Ronayne before the Munster GAA Football Senior Championship Quarter-Final match between Limerick and WaterfordCredit: Sportsfile

Shane explained: “I had started PE Teaching in UL and he asked me did I want to train the team. That is where it started, with my dad. We went on to the minors and Under-21s in Mitchelstown.

“Dad would be big into sport. My mother’s brothers would be as well, we just have been surrounded by it.

“We were always going to matches when we were younger. There is sport on all the time, it’s a sports-mad family.

“And my mam Maureen was a teacher so that’s where the teaching came in.”

A PE and maths teacher at Coláiste Dún Iascaigh in Cahir in Tipperary, Ronayne never intends to stop learning himself.

But he hopes all the lessons he has taken on since last missing out on the Cork job will come to the fore now he has got it.

He added: “We’re very close, we were a couple of minutes away from beating Meath this year who went on and won the All-Ireland.

“It isn’t an easy task but it’s one I’m up for.

“It’s been a bit of a drought but there is a burning ambition to try and get Brendan Martin back to Cork over the next couple of years.”

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