McCarthy issues passionate statement

Cork senior hurling manager Gerald McCarthy has issued a passionate personal statement in which he has called on the Rebels' young and upcoming players not to be fazed by the actions of their 'idols'.

"I am desperately saddened at the manner in which younger players have been dragged into something that has nothing to do with hurling or sport," McCarthy said in a statement released today.

"But I fully understand how difficult it must be not to be influenced by senior players whom they hold in such high esteem.

"If these young players are disposed to learning, they are on the cusp of great careers. My advice to them is to focus on hurling, not on the politics of hurling.

"They should be true to their ambition to be great hurlers and to represent their county."

It is rare for any inter-county manager to issue a statement, but in an unprecedented move McCarthy this morning emailed almost a 900-word document to the media expressing his views on the Cork management saga.

"I have watched with growing disbelief and distress the way in which this latest Cork hurling controversy has escalated in recent days," he said.

"I have tried my best to understand how players have painted themselves into a corner and have threatened to undertake a course of action that will be hugely detrimental to Cork hurling. At a time when the hurling challenges are very obvious indeed, Cork hurling is again beset by negative energy.

"I have regrettably come to the conclusion that there is a pre-disposition to conflict among a very small number of Cork players."

And the Cork boss is happy that his re-appointment was handled correctly, and eluded to the fact that he has not always been a favourite of the Cork County Board over the years.

"I am happy that my appointment was correctly made. It was not a 'done deal' as has been suggested.

"I have no particular connection with the Cork County Board and like many, have 'had my moments' with them down the years. I have backed the players when I felt they had a case - against the Board - and I am pleased that they are now, without question, among the best treated and facilitated in the country."

McCarthy outlined his concerns over the current situation and posed the question as to whether or not players should have a role in the management process.

"As I have previously said, I feel honoured and privileged to be offered the job as Cork manager and am determined to see it through to the very best of my ability.

"For some players to attempt to retrofit an objection to my appointment goes beyond their mandate as players and isn't worthy of them. To assume that because they enjoy high public status as players they are entitled to treat people in a summary and offensive way, reflects poorly on them.

"Let there be no doubt about this. These are wonderful players; committed and determined. They have had tremendous success WITH Cork.

"Not on their own but as part of a magnificent collective effort that has brought them to the level they are, from juvenile through to senior ranks.

"The fundamental issue here is whether players have a right to effectively appoint their own managers or veto the appointment of managers.

"I don't believe they should. It is undesirable, unworkable and untenable."

McCarthy believes the roles of players and managers are clearly defined.

"It is a basic truth in sport that managers manage and players play. For Cork hurling to capitulate to a demand that would not be entertained in any other sport would be massively damaging to hurling here."

McCarthy feels that the greater good of Cork hurling should always come to the fore and that hurling in the county will continue to strive no matter what the result of the latest impasse is.

"It is the nature of Cork hurling that the success these players have achieved, has been achieved before. It is also true that when all the current protagonists, including myself, have left the stage, Cork hurlers will go on to replicate the successes of the current panel.

"At a meeting with nine Cork players last week, Sean Óg Ó hAilpín asked a very reasonable question - 'why, at your age, do you want all this hassle?'

"I explained that I actually didn't want any hassle. I do want to get on with the job of bringing a panel of players who want to play for Cork as far as I can possibly bring them. That clearly was not the right answer."

He added: "Going forward, I will try to handle as best I can all the aggravation some players promised would come my way and will react to that kind of threat in the way I always have - by standing firm for what I believe to be right."

"Some players are coming close to the end of their careers. If, for whatever reason, they do not wish to play under my management next season, fair enough. But for them to contaminate the atmosphere for up and coming, promising players would be a tragedy for everyone involved in Cork hurling."

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