Limerick GAA vice-chairman Pat Heffernan says he feels like he has been “kicked in the pants” after fellow officers decided not to back his recommendation that Tom Ryan be installed as the county’s new intermediate hurling team manager.
Heffernan led a five-man sub-committee handed the task of filling the vacancy and he worked quickly alongside Paul Foley, Gerdie McGrath, Mike Cunningham and Paddy Kelly.
But when the quintet put forward Ryan’s name for the job, Heffernan’s fellow management committee members blocked the move.
The sensitive nature of the issue has already led to the abandonment of a county board meeting, when clubs attempted to force through a vote on the matter. And, since then, a request that Ryan serve as a selector instead, with Don Flynn promoted from selector to manager, was shot down by Heffernan and his colleagues.
Limerick’s power-brokers have now called a special board meeting for this evening in Claughaun, with two motions on the table. Limerick top brass want club delegates to back their decision not to install Ryan and they will also seek support to establish their own, new selection committee.
Heffernan’s sub-committee would effectively be rendered irrelevant, with Denis Holmes (Munster Council representative), Seamus McNamara (assistant secretary), Donal Morrissey (treasurer), Michael O’Riordan (secretary) and Oliver Mann (chairman) instead choosing the new intermediate manager. Heffernan finds himself in an awkward situation as he proposed Ryan for the intermediate job but also sits on Limerick’s top table alongside officers who rejected the suggestion.
And Heffernan admitted: “It is a kick in the pants — and to the boys with me. We only had one common goal. That was for the best for Limerick hurling and the people we picked are in the same frame of mind. That’s what I can’t understand. It’s disappointing and it’s hurtful, that some of my own people went against me. But I’ll work with the boys, I’ve no problem. All we had in mind was the good of Limerick hurling.”
Ryan, Limerick senior manager for the 1994 and 1996 All-Ireland finals, impressed Heffernan and fellow members of the appointments committee.
Heffernan admitted: “I was very disappointed myself for him. We don’t know what the reasons are.”
Limerick’s top officials will hope that clubs back their proposals this evening and if they do, Heffernan insists he will have no problem working with Mann and O’Riordan.
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