Farrell: mediation may not solve Limerick crisis

GPA chief executive Dessie Farrell believes mediation will not solve the Limerick hurling impasse.

Signs of a thaw finally appeared after months of a stand-off on Tuesday night when the subject was debated at a meeting of the county board and it seems that Croke Park may now be asked to mediate.

The GPA has also been mentioned as another possible arbiter in the dispute and, while Farrell would be open to that, he remains unconvinced that round-table discussions will be enough to clean up the mess.

“Obviously, if it can be sorted out it’s in everyone’s interest,” said Farrell. “I’m just concerned about the practicalities of a mediation process. I’ve had contact with players and county board officials and an individual involved with the management team. It just seems to be a very, very difficult situation. I’m not sure how mediation is going to help it.

“By all means, if it is to help, it should be explored but I can’t see any light at the end of the tunnel through the mediation channel. It probably should have happened earlier. The players seem to be very set in their opinion that they don’t want to play and it’s not necessarily a Cork situation where there was a full-on war.”

Prolonging the agony and postponing the inevitable, that was the reaction of many delegates to the decision taken at the Limerick county board meeting to ask for mediation from Croke Park. Yesterday, as news broke of a proposed meeting of senior hurling clubs this evening, followed by a meeting of the players tomorrow evening, that inevitable conclusion looms ever larger.

The senior clubs, it is reported, will look for a special county board meeting next Tuesday, to again discuss the issue; the players will restate their earlier position, that they will not be going back, which will probably mean that Croke Park will not get involved.

At the end of a lengthy debate at the county board meeting on Tuesday, the tenor of which was overwhelmingly against the action taken by the current management team led by Justin McCarthy last October whereby 12 players were cut from the panel, the impression gained was that Justin McCarthy’s days are numbered.

Delegates pointed out that while the board itself has been insisting that a solution could be found and that lines of communication were still open between the 24 disaffected players (the 12 cut plus 12 who subsequently walked) and management, the reality was that the players have made it crystal clear – there has been a complete breakdown of trust, and they will not play again for this manager.

However, GAA president Christy Cooney has claimed it is not yet too late for peace to break out. Croke Park has refused to get involved in the dispute thus far but indicated that they would play a part if asked.

“We are not going to get involved if any of the parties are not willing to give that kind of commitment because you couldn’t resolve an issue under those circumstances.”

Such standoffs are becoming increasingly familiar and it was confirmed yesterday the GAA and GPA are working on a document to prevent any repeats.

Explained Cooney: “We hope to have something before Congress around the way we can deal with this type of situation more quickly and ensure that it doesn’t happen again.


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