Limerick players reaffirm strike stance

LIMERICK hurlers who refuse to play under manager Justin McCarthy last night sensationally claimed that “a deliberate and concerted effort” is being made to end their resistance.

With James O’Brien having already crossed the divide, strong rumours are now circulating that several others were also set to jump ship.

Last night, the remaining the 24 disaffected players in the Limerick hurling dispute last night issued a statement insisting that they will not be returning to the fold while the current management team remain in place and that the “future of Limerick hurling” is the hands of delegates attending tomorrow night’s meeting of the county board.

They believe that the board, management and backroom team are placing pressure on young players to come back and that others are being manipulated by officials.

The players met in Knocklong, in the floodlit pitch of Garryspillane, where they held a training session under Derry O’Donovan, formerLimerick team trainer in the time of Eamonn Cregan (O’Donovan did not wish to be interviewed, but stated that he was doing what he was doing in the hope that should the crisis be resolved and the players from the 2009 panel return, they would at least be in decent shape).

Sixteen players were in attendance, but, according to a spokesman, all 24 were accounted for, and all were in agreement with the statement. This was the first formal group session but is a very definite indication that the players are determined to continue this fight. The odds would appear to be against them, however, given that Justin McCarthy has the backing of the county board, of its main sponsor, JP McManus, and, – most critically of all, and on the two occasions on which they’ve voted – of the club delegates.

In their statement, the 2009 squad claim: “There has been a deliberate and concerted effort by members of the county board, the team management and the backroom team to influence the thinking of club delegates and the wider Limerick public.

“There has also been a deliberate and concerted effort by members of the county board, the team management and the backroom team to influence the younger players who have pulled out of the 2010 panel, with huge pressure being put on, using one player against another in trying to persuade them to change their minds.

“At this stage we feel the need to make our position crystal clear – we will not play under the current management; despite rumours, stories and spins to the contrary, most of that coming from the county board and the current management team. There will be no more players returning to training with the current management team.

“It is now up to the club delegates to address the matter with the county board executive on Tuesday night next – the future of Limerick hurling is in their hands.”

Limerick have lost both their National Hurling League outings this year to Galway and Cork respectively.

The Shannonsiders face Davy Fitzgerald’s Waterford on Sunday.

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