Former Dublin hurler says there was a ‘toxic environment’ under Ger Cunningham

Former Dublin hurler says there was a ‘toxic environment’ under Ger Cunningham

Michael Carton has said he left the Dublin panel mid-championship in 2015 because of his anger at the team's management under Ger Cunningham, writes Stephen Barry.

Carton believes there’s something seriously wrong in the county as only six of the 2013 Leinster-winning starting team remain on the panel.

After Carton quit the panel, Danny Sutcliffe, Joey Boland, Conal Keaney, Shane Durkin and Paul Ryan are among those who have opted out.

Cunningham has also left out Johnny McCaffrey, Peter Kelly and Daire Plunkett from his squad for next year as he chooses to build on the foundation of Dublin’s underage successes.

Carton spoke about how he felt lost under Cunningham’s reign on Newstalk’s Off The Ball: “He was my fifth manager with Dublin but, for me, it was a toxic environment.

“There was no clarity, people weren't getting on, and it just wasn't a nice place to be. It's just too much commitment if you're not enjoying it.”

Earlier today, Liam Rushe said he couldn’t believe the amount of people writing off Dublin already.

“Inter-county panels are their own little world. There are always going to be people who are not happy with not getting game time, or this that or the other, or injuries are just mounting up and frustrations just grow, and that’s what happened with a certain number of people,” said Rushe.

“The management didn’t envisage certain roles for certain players and maybe they weren’t happy with that, and disagreements happen, they happen in every panel and that’s what happened to us this year.

“The amount of people who have told me that we're finished before the year has even started I can't believe it.”

Former Dublin hurler says there was a ‘toxic environment’ under Ger Cunningham

However, Carton spoke about how he feels the management teams assembled under Cunningham have been divided and lacked direction.

Tommy Dunne left his role as coach months into Cunningham’s time in charge, having been the only member of Anthony Daly’s backroom team to carry over into the 2015 season.

The Tipperary man wasn’t replaced and was one of six members of management who have left, according to Carton.

“From the very start, Tommy Dunne was named as our coach with Ger and I couldn’t have had a better coach. But then the first meeting we had as a panel, he wasn't there. So, I thought, ‘What's going on here?’

“We were never given clarity on why he left. We were promised another hurling coach of that calibre, which would be hard to find anywhere in Ireland really, and it never happened. Straight away, you’re asking questions. You're being promised things and they're not happening.

“It just wasn't a nice atmosphere for the year. The Tommy Dunne thing started things off and you could see tension between the management team themselves. That’s going to filter down the ranks if players are seeing that, and it wasn't hidden from players. If they’re questioning each other, you're going to have doubts in your mind.

“You could see tension between them, not speaking, and that proved right by the end of the year, because two lads left. The management broke up. We speak about Dublin hurling and all the players that have left over the years, but six of the management team have left. That speaks volumes.

“It's unheard of in intercounty hurling, to have two different management teams in two years.”

Former Dublin hurler says there was a ‘toxic environment’ under Ger Cunningham

Carton was moved from his usual role as a half-back into the full-back line during an initially successful 2015 League campaign.

The move didn’t last but he feels he wasn’t given a chance to win his place back, despite being promised, but not getting, a chance to play further out the field in training.

“It spoke volumes about what he thought of me as a person,” said Carton.

“He just wanted me as a back-up if anything happened our full-back. After giving 13 years to Dublin hurling, I wasn't ready to accept that. It was having an effect on me. I was going home angry all the time, so it was time to bow out.”

Carton believes the matter goes beyond Cunningham’s tenure to the Dublin County Board.

“It’s unheard of in inter-county hurling the number of players who have left the panel. There have to be questions asked,” Carton asserted.

“I think the County Board are happy enough for the Dublin footballers to be winning All-Irelands and for Dublin to survive in Division 1 in the hurling.

“If that’s the sum of the ambitions in Dublin hurling now after what we’ve brought it to over the last ten years, there’s something seriously wrong.”


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