GPA keeping a close eye on Cork

THE GAELIC Players Association is maintaining a watching brief on the current controversy in Cork GAA circles.

With every player of the Cork senior hurling panel understood to be a member of the representative body, the GPA is following events in the county with keen interest.

Last Friday the GPA issued a strongly-worded statement on behalf of the Donegal football squad, specifically relating to the failure of the Donegal County Board to honour a commitment given by its executive to maintain contact with the squad in relation to a replacement for departed manager Brian McIver.

There are similarities with the situation in Cork, where the appointment process used on Leeside to reaffirm Gerald McCarthy as senior hurling manager was agreed under the binding arbitration overseen by Labour Relations Commission chief Kieran Mulvey last February.

However, the two Cork players appointed to the committee tasked with finding a hurling manager withdrew from the committee before the vote to put Gerald McCarthy’s name to the county board executive.

The Cork senior hurlers have since expressed their unwillingness to play for McCarthy as manager, while in turn he has indicated his determination to stay on as boss, leading to a second stand-off in the county inside a year.

In addition to dissatisfaction with the process, revelations in various media outlets over the weekend detailed player unhappiness with McCarthy’s approach to coaching, and a deterioration in the atmosphere within the hurling camp that led to a professional business transformation manager being called in to facilitate meetings between management and players.

Meanwhile, the row in Donegal continues, with Charlie Mulgrew and Declan Bonner suggesting that they are considering legal action after they were not appointed as joint managers at last Wednesday night’s county board meeting. That extraordinary meeting led to John Joe Doherty being offered the position for a second time, but Mulgrew expressed his unhappiness to a local radio station in the northwest.

“This scenario is not going to die away — if that can’t be done within the offices of the GAA, it will be done in some other office.”

With both Mulgrew and Bonner insisting that their “integrity and honour” had been called into question by the events of last Wednesday night, Mulgrew has made it clear that he is deeply unhappy that Doherty was given the opportunity to speak at the gathering.

“The whole set-up of the meeting is being called into question,” he said.

“The whole legitimacy of one of the candidates for the post being allowed to speak to the meeting and to address club delegates directly has been called into question.

“At the moment, we are speaking with different people as to how we are going to address the situation.”

Mulgrew also made clear his personal anger at Doherty’s role in Wednesday’s sensational events.

“To be classified as a former team-mate by that guy. As far as I’m concerned, I’m not a former team-mate (of his),” said Mulgrew.

He also hit out at Doherty’s criticism of former Donegal manager Brian McEniff, who walked out of the meeting as a result: “Brian McEniff is a man who has served Donegal football hugely throughout the years, whom I’ve had numerous rows with down the years, but the counsel has always been between ourselves.

“He was insulted and his integrity and honour called into doubt, with the result that he left the meeting.

“This is a man who has been involved in Donegal football for 60 years.”

Mulgrew and Bonner both hinted that they have not given up hope of landing the Donegal job — although they will not take the role unless there are changes at the county board’s top table.

“It would be a huge honour to manage the county,” added Mulgrew.

“I believe I have the skills. I’m not going to get into blowing my own trumpet but there is still fight in this dog.”

Bonner described the interview process for the job as “fundamentally flawed”, adding: “Under no circumstances could I manage a team or get involved in Donegal football that would have those guys at the top table.

“An awful lot of stuff will need to change over the next couple of days or couple of weeks but I don’t think there is a great rush to appoint the new manager.

“Some day down the line I would love to get involved in again in Donegal football.”

Bonner also said that the drawn-out affair had convinced a number of businessmen in the area to withdraw their cash support for Donegal.


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