Back once again: Ephie Fitzgerald. Bryan Keane/INPHO
Guess who's back

U-turn in Cork with All-Ireland winning boss Fitzgerald returning on two-year term

Ephie Fitzgerald is set to commit again after stepping down in the wake of August’s All-Ireland semi-final exit.

ALL-IRELAND WINNING Cork manager Ephie Fitzgerald will return to the Rebel hotseat, making a U-turn on his decision to step down after their All-Ireland semi-final exit in August.

The Nemo Rangers clubman was ratified by the Cork LGFA executive committee last night on a two-year term, subject to further ratification at an upcoming county board meeting. 

“We are delighted to announce that Nemo Rangers’ Ephie Fitzgerald was ratified last nite [sic] by the Cork LGFA Exec Committee as Manger of the Senior Ladies Squad on a 2 year Term subject to ratification at the October County Board Meeting,” Cork LGFA tweeted this morning, confirming the news. 

Speculation was rife on Leeside over the past few weeks that the recently departed boss looked set to return.

Fitzgerald stepped down after four years in charge following Cork’s All-Ireland semi-final defeat to Dublin in August. 

“I think it is time for a new voice,” he told the media afterwards. “I said I would give it one more year. The result today was nothing to do with my decision to step down. That was made a while back.

“I would hope whoever takes over would take on that challenge and bring the team forward again and hopefully back up those steps in a year or two again.”

Fitzgerald initially succeeded the great Eamonn Ryan at the helm in January 2016, and steered Cork to their 11th All-Ireland title in 12 years in his first season in charge.

That September 2016 victory over Dublin resulted in an All-Ireland six-in-a-row, but the county have not reached the Holy Grail since. In 2017, Mayo dumped the Rebels out of the championship at the semi-final stage, and they fell short in last September’s final.

ephie-fitzgerald Fitzgerald with his team last summer. Bryan Keane / INPHO Bryan Keane / INPHO / INPHO

Fitzgerald also delivered back-to-back Lidl Ladies National League Division 1 crowns in 2016 and 2017, and another this May, while he steered the Leesiders to Munster crowns in 2016, 2018 and 2019.

In recent weeks, All-Ireland winning Tipperary and Mourneabbey boss Shane Ronayne and hugely successful Cork minor manager John Cleary hadn’t ruled out the prospect of filling the vacancy. 

But with Fitzgerald set to return, that’s all sorted now.

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