‘Younger players got unwelcome phone calls’

BEN O’CONNOR last night sensationally claimed young members of the Cork senior hurling have received unwelcome telephone calls advising them to return to training or it ‘wouldn’t look good for them for the future.’

As the dispute between the players and Gerald McCarthy deepened, the All Star stressed that their refusal to play under the manager was for the good of Cork hurling

Revealed the Newtownshandrum man: “Last week some of our younger panel members got phone calls.

“It was done in a ‘nicey-nicey way’ but they were told that they would want to be looking out for themselves and for their inter-county careers.

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

“And 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.”

O’Connor said the calls have done little to weaken the resolve of his colleagues.

“I’m amazed that the people making the calls haven’t realised these players have already gone through a lot and there has never been a break in ranks. They seem to think that it’s just a few players setting the agenda, ramming things down people’s throats, but it’s not. When we go into a meeting everyone has their say.

“We have our discussions, we take our votes; we have no problem with a fella going against the grain, and that has happened, but this one is unanimous.

“We got a text message today to check on our availability for the match next month (to celebrate the 150 anniversary of St Colman’s College), but we know that Gerald had already contacted Johnny Kane (intermediate team manager) to try to get a team ready. Obviously they’re thinking along the lines that no-one will be available, that they will need an entirely new panel for this match, and for 2009.”

But he doesn’t expect players to cross the ‘picket line’.

“If that happens, if other players make themselves available, we’d be very disappointed. I know that if someone from my own club here is asked to go that they’ll refuse, that they’ll support us all the way. We’re in it for the good of Cork hurling. We are trying to get the best system in place and keep it in place.

“At the moment, that’s not happening.”


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