Player unrest led me to quit Fermanagh – Pete McGrath

Former manager says players would have walked away if he stayed in the job

Pete McGrath: “I feel a bit disappointed the way it ended,” said the former Fermanagh manager. Photograph: Presseye/Inpho

Pete McGrath: “I feel a bit disappointed the way it ended,” said the former Fermanagh manager. Photograph: Presseye/Inpho

 

Former Fermanagh boss Pete McGrath has admitted that player unrest in the county was the reason for his resignation on Friday.

And he revealed that a number of senior players would have walked if he had stayed in charge. He also said he regretted that his departure was not without acrimony and ill-feeling.

McGrath stepped down on Friday after three years at the helm, just a week after committing to another year in charge.

His team were well beaten by Monaghan in the Ulster SFC preliminary round and then crashed out of the qualifiers at the hands of Armagh in a disappointing summer, but the twice All-Ireland-winning Down boss looked set to go again.

Speaking to RTÉ Sport, McGrath aired his disappointment at how his tenure had ended.

“It was obvious that there were things [the players] weren’t happy about and there was a strong possibility that if the current manager or management team was put back in place that a number of senior players would not commit to Fermanagh for 2018.

“That really started the whole process of uncertainty. Management met again in the aftermath of that. Our management team had a long discussion about was it wise for us to go ahead, should we go ahead. We felt we should, that whatever issues players had could be dealt with.

A change

“There are always issues when you get 35 or 38 adults working together there’s always going to be issues or differences of opinion. But it just got to a stage where players were saying, ‘no’, they wanted a change.

“It led me to a position where I felt it made no sense for me to stay as manager. I took the decision to stand down. The issues that were mentioned to me were not major issues, and in fact in my view in some cases they were non-issues.”

The two-time All-Ireland winner with Down moves on albeit with a sour taste in his mouth.

He led the Erne County to the All-Ireland quarter-final two years ago, but he admitted the split has not been amicable.

“I feel a bit disappointed the way it ended because over the four years I was in Fermanagh I felt there was always a very mature, honest, transparent, robust approach taken in terms of how we were going to go forward together.

“I felt there was great trust. Everything has to come to an end and you always hope when the end comes that it’s going to be one in which you walk away and you feel you’ve reached the limit, and there’s no acrimony, and there’s no ill feeling and that trust and integrity is still there. Unfortunately, the way this ended, that isn’t the case. That’s my only regret.”

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