McCarthy gets vote of confidence in Limerick

JUSTIN McCARTHY held onto his position as Limerick hurling manager last night after winning a dramatic vote of confidence at a specially convened county board meeting in Claughaun.

Delegates voted on McCarthy’s future by secret ballot and the Cork native survived on a margin of 70 votes to 54.

McCarthy’s victory is the latest twist in the saga which dates back to October, when the former Waterford boss decided to dispense with 12 players from his 2009 squad.

Eight others walked away in protest and the county’s big-name stars have vowed not to hurl again for Limerick while McCarthy is in charge.

But now the ball is firmly back in the players’ court after delegates backed him last night, after the county board had proposed a vote of confidence in him.

The players now have two options – return to hurl for Limerick under McCarthy or continue to make themselves unavailable for selection.

McCarthy may have won last night’s battle but it is almost certain that the war will continue and may come to a head again early next year should an under-strength Limerick struggle during the National Hurling League.

County board officials put themselves out on a limb last night by deciding to publicly back McCarthy but they may now have created a situation on a par with the crisis which rocked Cork this time last year.

Gerald McCarthy went into battle for the early stages of the 2009 National Hurling League but unbearable pressure eventually led to his resignation last March.

Last night’s meeting lasted over two hours as the county board nailed their colours firmly to the mast in their support of Justin McCarthy. The motion required a simple majority to be passed, whereas a vote of no confidence in the manager would have required a two-thirds majority.

County board chairman Liam Lenihan revealed 21 players were present along with their club delegates at a meeting last weekend in the latest attempt to find a breakthrough in the impasse.

A previous meeting in Ballyagran earlier this month, at which McCarthy was present, lasted for four hours and a motion of no confidence in the management from the Adare club was ruled out by Lenihan.

Fresh discussions took place last weekend and according to Lenihan, “a frank and open discussion” took place.

However, the players refused to enter negotiations with McCarthy and his management team, while mediation was ruled out.

McCarthy’s man management and communication skills were called into question by disgruntled players, who felt that they were ill-prepared for the 2009 season.

The players felt training had become “monotonous” as the season wore on, with a lack of core work in the early months cited as one of the reasons for the spectacular All-Ireland semi-final defeat against Tipperary.

County board officials also faced accusations from Ahane delegate Donal Morrissey that they were out to win a “battle” and he warned of dire consequences and a drop to Division 2 next season if Limerick go into battle without their top stars.

However, Morrissey also insisted Limerick’s problems must not be allowed to resurface in the new year and that any decision reached last night was final.

County board secretary Mike O’Riordan revealed that he had discussed Limerick’s problems with GPA chief executive Dessie Farrell, who expressed his view that mediation would not help to resolve the matter.

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