Several young players confirmed that they fully supported the squad’s stance.
Newtownshandrum’s Cathal Naughton revealed: “The younger players here, we’re all old enough and wise enough to make our own decisions. We think it’s an absolute disgrace that people in Cork are saying we’re being bullied or being led by older people on the panel. We wouldn’t be here if that was the case.
“The younger players feel strongly about this because we’re the future of Cork hurling. We hope to be hurling for Cork in 10 to 15 years. We certainly don’t want to be putting up with this every single winter.”
Shane O’Neill echoed Naughton’s sentiments. He said: “I’m 22 years of age, so I’d like to think that I’m still one of the younger members of this panel. I think it’s highly degrading and offensive to suggest that we’re being led by older players and we’re being pressurised into making decisions. We’re all wise enough, intelligent enough and most importantly, strong enough, to stand up for ourselves.”
Kevin Canty concurred: “I’m one of the younger players on the panel as well and only came on in 2007. This is one thing constantly that Gerald has come out with many times. Ger Fitzgerald came out with it last Saturday in the Examiner and Teddy McCarthy said it today in the Examiner. I find it very insulting to say we’re being led by the older players. I’ve been part of many different teams and to say that all of a sudden I’m being led by older players is disgraceful and insulting.”
Kevin Hartnett also expressed his support for the squad’s current position. He said: “I’m 24. It is insulting to hear that three or four of the older guys are driving us on. We all believe in what we’re doing is right. We’re well capable of making our own decisions. We believe in what we’re doing and we’re all here together tonight.”
Ben O’Connor declared that if anyone was engaging in bullying tactics, it was Gerald McCarthy’s management team.
Meanwhile Naughton, insisted that he had no problem with the 2009 panellist, some of whom are Fitzgibbon Cup teammates of his with CIT.
“I’m actually playing with CIT at the moment. There’s a good few of the current 2009 panel with us in the college. I train with them on a regular basis. We go into arm in arm before every match. I respect them and even a few of them are in my class in college. Nothing has ever been said to them and it’ll continue that way,’’ he said.
Finally Shane O’Neill revealed that several players had turned down invitations to feature in McCarthy’s 2009 panel.
“Ross Cashman, Mattie Collins, Eoin Dillon, Ken O’Halloran, Vincie Hurley, Stephen Dineen, Colm O’Driscoll, Mike Naughton, Eoin O’Sullivan, Mike Walsh, Jack Herlihy, and Brendan Barry all refused to play.”