The end is in sight as executive decide on next move


CORK DISPUTE: THE ONGOING Cork GAA dispute appears to be nearing a resolution after the county board executive met yesterday ahead of an “information” meeting with club representatives tonight, followed by a full board meeting on Thursday.

Gerald McCarthy was out of the country over the past few days so it is unclear whether he intends to remain as senior hurling manager after clubs voted 193 to 0 in support of a proposal calling for his removal. There were 44 abstentions and 21 deferrals in cases where clubs have yet to hold meetings to reach a consensus.

Significantly, the stand-off no longer appears to be between the 2008 hurling panel and the county executive but rather a county board issue with clubs joining forces under the chairmanship of Tomás Ryan. A delegate from the Dripsey club, Ryan won an All-Ireland hurling medal with Cork in the 1970s.

“We are just a forum with no actual power but hopefully we can come up with proper structure to work with the county board,” Ryan told The Irish Times yesterday. “This is not a county board meeting but a chance to ensure this doesn’t happen again. It has been going on and on and on. It has affected the county hurlers, the county footballers and everyone involved in GAA in the county.”

The county executive gathered last night to chart their next course of action but it seems the clubs have largely turned against them, most evident by the second proposal on Sunday calling for time to mandate delegates regarding proposals of major importance (the vote was 187 to 0 with 48 abstentions). This would ensure that the recent scenario where delegates voted to support McCarthy without consulting their clubs could be avoided in future. It would also significantly lessen the executive’s power.

“Obviously we are aware of the votes and while not disputing them we remain unaware just how accurate they are,” said Cork PRO Ger Lane, despite the presence of an independent overseer from A&L Goodbody at Sunday’s votes.

“Having said that, we’d be fools not to say there is a problem and obviously there is disquiet among the clubs. There is a board executive meeting tonight (Monday) and our strategy will be figured out then. All aspects of the votes will be discussed.”

Lane went on to question the workability of the second proposal from the clubs as it may need to be brought before annual congress.

“A change on general rule would be required,” continued Lane. “That means going to convention or congress even, which is not our remit. A delegate is mandated by their club to make a decision on their behalf. What if there is an amendment to that motion, what does he do then? It would not always be practical.”

The senior football panel have already stated their intention to strike if the dispute is not solved by the end of the National League but confirming the situation was now “in the hands of the clubs” and not just the players, Ryan said McCarthy’s position had become untenable.

“If the footballers are forced to stand down it would be a very sad. Gerald McCarthy is a good friend of mine. I played with Gerald on Cork teams and won my All-Ireland when he was playing with Cork in the early seventies but Gerald was put in there against the will of the county players.

“Yes (his position has become untenable). When the players were against Justin McCarthy in Waterford he was removed. It took a week in Offaly with Richie Connor.”

It also appears that Croke Park will have a say in the next appointment of a senior intercounty manager in Cork.

Asked whether any members of the county executive should be relieved of their positions, Ryan replied: “I’m not saying they should, I’m not saying they shouldn’t. Common sense must prevail. We must now take a step forward after five months of this. Whatever is good for Cork hurling must be done and stop hanging in limbo.”

The information and consultative meeting takes place in the Rochestown Park Hotel with the county board vice-chairman Bob Ryan urging all chairmen, sectaries and club delegates to attend.