In a statement released yesterday, the executive defended outgoing Brian Cuthbert in the wake of “regular, unjustified and personalised abusive criticism from certain elements of the media”.
They also made a number of serious claims including criticism of referee Pádraig Hughes for awarding Kerry a penalty in the drawn Munster final on July 5 as well as indicating Cork would have won their All-Ireland quarter-final had they beaten Kerry.
The press releases read: “The tremendous performance of the team in the drawn Munster Final has been widely acknowledged, and it is quite probable that but for a totally wrong refereeing decision in that game,Cork would now be in an All-Ireland Semi-Final.
“The short turn-around time between the replay, played in exhausting weather conditions, and the qualifier game against Kildare, cannot be ignored as a factor in that defeat.” Cork chairman Ger Lane yesterday explained the statement was written and issued by PRO Edmond Forrest partly in response to “Sunday newspapers that were very unfair” on Cuthbert.
The GAA may now ask Cork to explain their comments as it could be judged that the remark about Hughes discredited the association, a breach of rule 7.2 (e). A fine would be the likely punishment were the Central Competitions Control Committee satisfied the rule been contravened.
It is understood Cork could issue another statement in the next 24 hoursin relation to Dónal Óg Cusack’s attack on the county board last Sunday week.
Fermanagh chairman Patsy Dolan would not be drawn on the claim thatCork would quite probably be in an All-Ireland semi-final but for Hughes’ decision. Had Cork won the Munster final, they might have faced the Erne County in an All-Ireland quarter-final.
However, Dolan said: “We played Dublin yesterday (Sunday) and we gave them a match and Cork weren’t in the equation. The referee’s word is finalin any game and that’s the rules of the Association that we play under.
“I would make no comment on the statement. Obviously, if Cork feel hard done by they are entitled to say so but it made no difference to what we had to do yesterday.” Lane added that Cork felt moved to defend Cuthbert after a couple of Sunday newspapers were the latest sections of the media to make scathing comments about Cuthbert.
“There has been some negativity since he stepped down,” he said, “and we feel that he has given us two years’ service. Okay, he didn’t achieve ultimate success but he doesn’t deserve the level of criticism he has received in social media and in print and on the radio.
“There were some things, particularly in social media and on websites, that were over the top. Cork were seconds from defeating Kerry in Killarney. If that had happened then things would have changed completely.
“We didn’t perform well against Kildare, but the quick turnaround was a big factor in that, I feel, and there is a history of teams finding that difficult. We’re not hiding from the fact that it was a disappointing year but there seemed to be too much laying of blame on Brian and we wanted to insert some balance.” Meanwhile, Waterford native Kevin Ryan has confirmed he will be stepping down as Antrim senior and U21 manager when the U21s’ interests ends in their All-Ireland championship.
In a statement sent to the Irish Examiner, he wrote: “Apart from early league form and a fantastic display in championship against Laois it has been a very poor year for Antrim Senior Hurling. I believe there is a vast amount of change needed to revitalise and improve Antrim hurling and it needs a clear pathway for the next three years or more.
“Starting that process in my last year may not suit my successor. It would leave players facing further uncertainty and maybe more change in 12 months time. In the interest of all concerned I believe the timing is right for me to resign.
“I hope announcing my intention now allows Antrim to find a suitable successor with ample time to prepare for 2016. I would like to thank Frankie Quinn and the board, all those who helped and supported me inthe backroom team and some seriously dedicated supporters for their support in the past three years.
“In particular I would like to thank and pay tribute to the players for their continued efforts and support for both Antrim and myself. I wish them all the success their efforts deserve.”
Read the full Cork County Board statement