Rebels hit by a fresh strike threat

CORK GAA was once more locked in crisis, with All-Ireland winning skipper Ben O’Connor confirming the entire senior squad will not play under Gerald McCarthy.

And O’Connor, Cork’s only All-Star in 2008, claimed that younger players received unwelcome phone calls advising them to return to the panel or “it wouldn’t look good for them for the future”.

In an exclusive Irish Examiner interview, the Cork legend blasted the county board for instigating the second massive stand-off to have hit the Rebels this year.

He issued a stark warning to McCarthy and the county board: “This panel are ready to go the whole distance, we’re ready to pull out, tell them to work away next year.

“If there’s a new management team after that, and if we’re wanted back again, then no bother, but as it stands, we’re having nothing to do with the current set-up.

“People tell us that we should be honoured to play for Cork — it’s not an honour to play for Cork, it’s an honour to win for Cork, that’s my argument. It’s no good us going up and down to Páirc Uí Chaoimh three or four times a week if we’re not winning, or at least giving ourselves the best chance of winning.

“After what we’ve experienced for the last two years, we feel we need change to get back to Croke Park again.”

The Newtownshandrum man revealed: “Last week, some of our younger panel members got phone calls. It was done in a ‘nicey-nicey way’ but they were told they would want to be looking out for themselves and for their inter-county careers.

“They were told if they didn’t come back to training, or back to the panel, it wouldn’t look good for them for the future.

“It was only the younger panel members got those phone calls — I didn’t get one, neither did Joe Deane, Timmy McCarthy or any of those lads. It was all the younger lads — I don’t think that’s on.”


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