Clare saga rolls on as McNamara digs in

Wed, Nov 11, 2009, 00:00

HURLING CRISIS:THE MANAGERIAL hurling crisis in Clare took another twist late last night when Mike McNamara insisted he would not be resigning from the position – despite the near unanimous disapproval from the current senior county panel following his re-appointment last month.

Despite the increasing speculation that McNamara was left with no option but to leave, last night’s lengthy county board meeting in Ennis proved dramatically otherwise, in every sense, and was briefly adjourned before he delivered what turned out to be a stirring address on why he would be staying on.

McNamara had insisted that all media should leave the meeting before he made his address, but a couple of reporters declined, stating this would set a dangerous precedent.

County board chairman Michael O’Neill then agreed a compromise whereby McNamara would address the county delegates first, and then the media – at which point it was still clear unclear whether or not he was willing or able to hold on to the position.

O’Neill has been adamant all along that the stand-off between the Clare senior hurlers and McNamara wouldn’t be allowed to develop into a Cork-style players strike, and while this message has clearly been conveyed to McNamara, the stand-off can only surely worsen now.

With no motion of confidence tabled at the meeting, McNamara was effectively left to decide his own destiny, having been reappointed last month for the second of his current two-year term, after a successful first season in charge in 2008.

Although the fallout with the players, on top of last season’s disappointing result, appeared to have gone too far to permit an amicable resolution, McNamara intends to hold his position, at least for the time being.

McNamara was always intending to address last night’s Clare county board meeting in Ennis to deliver his end of season report, and outlined his ambitions for next year.

Afterwards, the county chairman reiterated that McNamara and his selectors had the full backing of the county executive. Where the situation goes from here remains to be seen.

The Clare county board did at least agree on a new football manager, appointing Micheál McDermott as successor to Frank Doherty, who stepped down after the qualifier defeat to Donegal last July. Significantly, McDermott’s new backroom team will include former footballer Liam McHale, along with James Foran, and one further selector to be agreed at a later date.