By Eoghan Cormican
The 2017 Galway camogie management team have been sacked because a member of the backroom staff, Niall Corcoran, conducted one-on-one coaching sessions with Cork goalkeeper Aoife Murray throughout the summer, outgoing manager Mark Dunne has claimed.
In a three-page letter emailed to club officials in the county, Dunne outlines how his management team were invited to a meeting with three members of the county board executive on Thursday, September 21.
During this meeting, management were informed that their positions were “no longer tenable” due to the fact Corcoran had assisted Murray while the All-Ireland championship was ongoing.
The two counties met in the All-Ireland semi-final back in August, with Cork scoring a 2-9 to 1-9 victory. Murray converted a first-half penalty during the clash at Limerick’s Gaelic Grounds.
Dunne, serving in his first year as manager, was aware that Corcoran, an All-Ireland minor medal-winner with Galway and corner-back on Dublin’s 2013 Leinster winning side, was working with the six-time All-Star goalkeeper.
“Niall informed me that throughout the year he lends a hand with training to some inter-county hurlers and camogie players based in Dublin. He informed me one of those players was the Cork senior camogie goalkeeper. I was happy for Niall to continue providing coaching sessions to those players as long as there was no conflict of interest in his role with the Galway team. He assured me full trust and confidentiality in relation to his role with the Galway senior camogie team.
“Niall had played this role before as in 2013 he coached both the Galway and Clare camogie players based in Dublin and was part of the Galway set-up on All-Ireland final day in 2013. This was never a secret and none of the management had an issue with this.”
In an interview which appeared on the morning of the All-Ireland camogie final, Murray detailed her Thursday morning sessions at the Kilmacud Crokes pitch with Corcoran. What went on within their respective camps, she said, were “non-subjects” not up for discussion.
Corcoran’s dealings with a player from another county, Dunne wrote, was an “unacceptable and unfair explanation” for their departure.
He added: “We believe this is not the main issue as to why our positions have been terminated.”
Prior to their last round-robin fixture in mid-July, management considered resigning their roles after relations broke down with the board.
At a review meeting on Monday, July 16, Dunne alleges board members questioned selection and team tactics, provided opinion on the performance of individual players and claimed that “at least 10 players were unhappy within the set-up”.
A second meeting was held two days later where board members signed a document drawn up by management stating they would not interfere or attempt to influence selection or tactics. This document was attached to the email sent by Dunne.
“This email is not intended to be used as a means for me or my management team to be reinstated for 2018.
“I think the reasons outlined by the county board for our dismissal is quite frankly pathetic and questions the motives of certain county board officers and their intentions for Galway camogie,” Dunne wrote.
This story first appeared in the Irish Examiner.