Sunderland and staff quit Kildare hurlers

Kildare hurling has been rocked by the resignation of manager Willie Sunderland and his backroom team of Mattie Dowd, Don McSweeney and coach Bertie Sherlock, a little over one month before the 2013 campaign begins.

Wexford native Sunderland, who took the reins of Kildare midway through the 2011 season following the dismissal of former Dublin coach Michael O’Riordan, informed the players of his decision after training on Friday night.

There has been disquiet amongst the hurling fraternity in the county in recent weeks over the revelation that the senior, U21 and minor county teams would only receive a combined €75,000 in funding from the county board for the coming year.

In 2012 the three teams received over €115,000 as the U21 team reached the All-Ireland B final and the senior side achieved promotion to Division 2A of the National Hurling League. In comparison, the footballers will receive €225,000 towards their preparations for the coming year.

There had been some speculation that former Oulart-The Ballagh manager Sunderland would not take on the role for the next 12 months given the lack of financial support but he reluctantly returned to the post having received assurances that further funding would become available to the hurlers once a new sponsor for Kildare GAA had been found.

The hurlers returned to training only this month but have not even had the provision of a physio for any of their sessions so far and this is believed to be the final straw for Sunderland.

A special meeting of the county hurling board was held yesterday to seek a resolution to the issue but despite initial optimism there are still a number of issues to be ironed out before Sunderland and his selection committee consider returning to the helm.


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