Firstly, I appreciate this is a Thread on a sporting issue but the term Politics means "the process by which groups of people make decisions". In the sporting issue at hand unfortunately the two opposing groups could not come to a decision by way of agreement, so this debacle has now intensified to a higher and more serious level.
Secondly there are a considerable number of Cork posters here (or any other posters for that matter) who might like to give an informed opinion on this. Smart remarks from those uninterested aren't appreciated.
Statement issued by Gerald McCarthy, Cork Hurling Manager within the past 24 hours;
'The refusal of the players to meet all parties; Olann Kelleher, the independent chairman, or any other independent person, simply confirms for me that there never has been any serious intent by the leaders of this dispute to try to resolve the current issues,' the statement began.
'I believe their attitude to the independent chairman whose sole interest, as a keen follower of all Cork sport, was to broker a solution, has been offhand and obstructive.
'I would like to thank Olann for all his efforts to resolve the issues.
'Efforts by the County Board and myself to resolve this impasse have been going on since October. We have not, as some commentators have suggested, been sitting on our hands. The player representatives who last year refused to allow Kieran Mulvey and Padraic Duffy meet with all the players, also refused a similar request by me in November.
'The best efforts of Jimmy Barry Murphy, Tomas Mulcahy and Dr Con Murphy came to nothing because of the players' attitude. In the past fortnight, the players refused to meet me although I had turned up to meet them.
'A few days later, having apparently agreed to meet with me, the players then indicated that they would not meet with selectors Teddy McCarthy and John Keane. Having changed their minds on that, they now refuse to meet under Olann Kelleher. No-one on the management team, whatever our faults, has any such illusions about our own importance.
'This has been one of the saddest periods in Cork hurling. The players, having agreed to participate in a unique process outlined by Kieran Mulvey, reneged on it. The players never put forward an alternative name to mine during the five meetings of the selection process.
'The players wished to interview managerial candidates. I am not aware of any sport which would allow current players to interview candidates who would become their managers or coaches.
'The player leaders walked out of the process and, despite giving their word to the contrary in last year's dispute, went on strike.
'The players want the right to veto the appointment of the county manager, and effectively appoint their own manager. They don't accept that different perspectives to their own are worthy of any consideration. And when those who claim representative status for all the players don't get exactly what they want, they walk away and reach for a placard.
'Does any real or perceived grievance justify the damage that has been done to Cork hurling?
'I find the efforts to pressurise members of the current panel not to turn out for Cork as very hard to take. The image of senior players trying to get young players not to turn out for Cork is one that should make every hurling follower feel very uncomfortable. The players involved seem not only to wish to decide who their manager should be but would also determine who should and shouldn't play for Cork.
'Some of the commentary on the dispute has been very unfair and has made no attempt to examine the issues involved. The treatment of the players as having no responsibility for their actions, on or off the field, has simply made resolution more difficult.
'Likewise, there is an undercurrent of undeclared conflicts of interest surrounding this dispute which has been far from fair, decent or transparent and which, in time, will probably emerge.
'There are a few constants in my view of hurling. The overriding one is that it is an absolute honour to play for Cork and to follow the great names that went before.
'I am not interested anymore in negotiating with last year's panel. I have done everything possible to facilitate a solution. It's time to move on.
'My full attention for the next two years will be on the players who have come forward to play with Cork. This season's squad have been deprived of the help and guidance of more experienced players because of this dispute and that is a pity.
'The Cork public needs to support them and be patient and encouraging. The young players are putting a huge effort into training for the National League and will go abroad in April for intensive training.
'In time they will be joined by others who want to play for their county. There will always be a welcome from me and my management team for any player who wants to play for Cork.'
McCarthy also gave an interview to RTE this evening which can be watched here; GAA Championship Media Player
Further words on the crisis from the Evening Echo today;
IT’S FULL steam ahead for the league and the championship according to Gerald McCarthy after proposed talks with the striking hurlers under independent chairman Olann Kelleher failed to get off the ground. The Cork hurling manager says he is fully focused on the league opener at home to
Dublin on February 7 with his new team, after Olann Kelleher withdrew from the process last night. McCarthy released a statement which declared he is
no longer not interested in trying to negotiate with the county’s striking hurlers.
“Firstly, I want to put the record straight as regards why the current situation has been arrived at,” he said this morning. “The fact is that the players refused to meet under Olann Kelleher or for that matter any
other independent chairman and that is why Olann has now walked away.”
A confidentiality clause prevents the independent chairman Olann Kelleher from commenting on why he resigned from that position. “I’ve had about 10 calls today and I’ve been consistent with every one of them,” Mr Kelleher
explained this morning. “I am bound by the confidentiality clause and haven’t commented one way or the other since the outset,” he said.
None of the 2008 panel would comment when contacted this morning, but it is believed they are banking on public opinion leading to Gerald’s removal,
should the new-look Cork side suffer heavy defeats in their opening league games against Dublin and Tipperary. The panel are maintaining a united front for now, though a number of players have expressed their misgivings about
their stay-away stance at players’ meetings. It appears the players are content to play a waiting game — while holding weekly training sessions under the guidance of Seanie McGrath and Jerry Wallace in Na Piarsaigh and
Mourneabbey — on the basis they could still play in 2009, if Gerald McCarthy is ousted on the back of poor results.
The warring parties had been set to meet this coming Sunday, but the players are now expected to release a statement tonight.
McCarthy said he is hoping to finalise challenge games to prepare for the league. “The situation now is quite simple, I am getting on with the job of preparing Cork for the forthcoming national league and then the championship. My focus will be on that and with that in mind we have arranged a few challenge games against Limerick and Waterford.
“We are down to play Limerick at the weekend, weather permitting
but the main focus will be on the first game of the league against Dublin.”
Given the fact that it’s now a near certainty that he will be without any of the 2008 squad, is he fearful that such an inexperienced unit could struggle
against the Kilkennys, Tipps and Waterfords of this world?
“Let’s give them a fair chance and see what happens. But what I have now at my disposal are players who want to play for Cork, wear the red jersey and
that’s what matters.”
The players (as in the 2008 Panel) may issue a Statement in response later tonight or possibly in early course. I would of course imagine that they will have to issue a Statement to counteract what has been stated by McCarthy or to put forward their views.
Personally I find the whole thing distasteful and this has put a serious blemish on Cork Hurling which will last for considerable time to come, whether or not any resolution is arrived at subsequently.
1. Families have been split over this affair. Cork County Board Chairman Jerry O'Sullivan has two sons in the opposing camp (08 Panel) one being Diarmuid (The Rock) O'Sullivan. An interview with J.O'Sullivan is here: GAA Championship Media Player
2. The replacement Hurlers who have expressed a willingness to play and coming from various Clubs around the County are inexperienced at this level though of course the experience of playing at this Senior Level will do them good. However, certain members of the Cork public siding with the 08 Panel are already referring to the replacements as "scabs".
3. Certain Members of the public have already decided to boycott Cork Hurling matches, some even extending to any Hurling Matches in the County, some are switching Mobile Phone usage from O2, some may protest at Matches, etc.
4. At least one public protest in support of the 08 Panel is being arranged presently - though how far public outcry or input into the situation will go exactly is yet to be determined.
5. The attitude of the County Board/Manager appears to be to proceed on with this entirely new team and if any of the 08 Squad wish to come in they are welcome to do so and basically just see how things progress. The upcoming league matches against Dublin and Tipperary will be extremely difficult encounters now to say the least. The Championship will be another ball game entirely. It may also be the ploy of the 08 Panel now simply to see how things progress and hope for public outcry at consequent results resulting in the resignation of the Manager and giving the County Board egg on its face.
6. There is the thing about the players agreeing previously not to strike again. Whether or not they should have held out previously or been more careful in what they were agreeing to or perhaps they should have been better advised.
7. This has caused splits in GAA Clubs across the County between those standing with the Manager and those supporting the 08 Panel. I've seen it in my own GAA Club.
For a Sport much loved and followed in Cork, this is certainly one of the darkest days in Hurling. I can remember being at Croke Park when the main part of this 08 team effectively beat Kilkenny off the pitch on the way to their winning the 1st of 2 All-Irelands. And it has all come to this point. Shocking really and terribly sad for the sport of Hurling in general.