McCarthy issues stinging response


GAELIC GAMES:IN A further escalation of the Cork hurling dispute, team manager Gerald McCarthy has issued a stinging response to senior county player Seán Óg Ó hAilpín, whose criticisms of McCarthy's training methods and the county board were widely reported yesterday.

He also revealed that attempts at mediation by "two highly respected former Cork players" had been broken off because the intermediaries had now walked away in despair at finding a solution. In a statement circulated to media yesterday evening, McCarthy accused the former All-Ireland winning captain of "flip flopping" on the issue of the manager's coaching ability.

"I accept that Seán Óg has a very busy life," runs the statement. "His substantial commercial interests arising from his Cork hurling career, dealing with his agent, his membership of the GPA, his job with Ulster Bank and his on-off role with Cork, must make it difficult to find time to reflect. If he did find time, then perhaps he wouldn't be flip flopping around the place and changing his mind about my abilities as a coach, to suit the agenda of the day."

He went on to criticise those leading the dispute, which arose over the renewal of McCarthy's appointment as manager, saying: "We have been tip toeing around a small number of personalities as they tried to turn training and sport into some kind of industrial relations contest of a bygone age."

On the subject of criticisms of the professionalism of his regime, McCarthy said that only 13 players out of 30 had responded to a nutritionist's questionnaire. He asked, "whether a failure to co-operate fully with a nutritionist brought in by me was 'professional' " and "whether failure to attend recovery sessions put on for them after games was 'professional'. Was trying to get a vital fitness team member replaced before he even started work for the season 'professional'?"

Responding to dismissive allegations about his coaching, McCarthy said that he had organised the county's first overseas training camp to La Manga last year and that anything he had requested from the county board on behalf of the team had been granted.

"So for Seán Óg to turn around now and describe the coaching regime as "Mickey Mouse" is dishonest and outrageous." Expressing his satisfaction that the exhibition match between Cork and a St Colman's Fermoy selection to mark the school's 150th anniversary was back on (the county styled as a 'Cork selection' to try and avoid the GAA's inter-county close season restrictions) on 23rd November at 2.30, McCarthy said he would be finalising his panel for the coming season in the weeks ahead.