Cork Hurling Saga Continues – Gerald McCarthy responds to ÓhAilpín criticism

Cork hurling manager Gerald McCarthy tonight issued a stinging response to Seán Óg Ó hAilpín’s criticisms of him at an Adidas sponsored event in Croke Park yesterday. As the mud slinging from both sides continues, Gerald McCarthy pulled absolutely no punches in his latest contribution.

Full statement by Gerald McCarthy tonight:

I had hoped that we might have seen an end to media statements / interviews on the Cork hurling issues. However, Seán Óg Ó hAilpín’s comments this morning represent a serious escalation of the dispute.

Would the real Seán Óg please stand up? In his comments this morning, I am a hopeless coach. Nothing is right. The whole thing is a shambles. Yet on two occasions during the past season, he made a particular point of seeking out the media to loudly praise my coaching skills, particularly in an interview with Colm Keys in the Irish Independent.  

I accept that Seán Óg has a very busy life. His substantial commercial interests arising from his Cork hurling career, dealing with his agent, his membership of the GPA, his job with Ulster Bank and his on-off role with Cork, must make it difficult to find time to reflect.  If he did find time, then perhaps he wouldn’t be flip flopping around the place and changing his mind about my abilities as a coach, to suit the agenda of the day.  

I am glad he accepted the fact that the player representatives did not put forward any name during the appointment process.

He is right about one other matter. We have been living something of a lie in the Cork camp. Selectors, fitness coaches, and all the background team, fantastic people all, always operated in good faith, with one objective only: to train and prepare a Cork hurling team in the best way possible. We have been less than honest in one important respect. We have been tip toeing around a small number of personalities as they tried to turn training and sport into some kind of industrial relations contest of a bygone age. 

But the great myth emanating from this small group of players is that this issue is all about the pursuit of excellence and a “professional” approach.  Cork supporters are entitled to wonder whether a failure to co-operate fully with a nutritionist brought in by me was “professional.”  Only 13 players from 30 responded to a questionnaire prepared by her. Whether failure to attend recovery sessions put on for them after games was “professional”. Was trying to get a vital fitness team member replaced before he even started work for the season “professional”. 

These players have, rightly, been afforded every facility. They were the first Cork hurling team – and at my recommendation – to have a full week’s residential training abroad, in La Manga. It exposed them a full professional training regime and was a great success for everyone involved, as was accepted by Donal Óg Cusack in a recent interview.  Every single item that I asked Cork county board for this team was given and rightly so. So for Seán Óg to turn around now and describe the coaching regime as “Mickey Mouse” is dishonest and outrageous.

I applaud the efforts of those who have tried in the past week, with my full blessing and co-operation, to sort this out. I can understand why in the wake of Seán Óg’s comments, two highly respected former Cork players who had opened dialogue with the dispute leaders, have now despaired of them and have informed me they have walked away.

I am now going to get on with the job that I was appointed to and which the overwhelming majority of Cork supporters want me to.  I am delighted that the Fermoy game is back on and we will have a Cork team there.  In the coming weeks, I will be announcing the Cork panel for the coming season, will be announcing the full backroom team and finalising a winter training programme for all players who are on the panel.

I will be calling a forum of club and underage coaches, to propose moving forward the tremendous work on the development squads which has been ongoing, on to the establishment of a full hurling academy. I am really delighted at the offers to participate in this from former Cork players, great hurlers and the toughest of men who managed to be winners without ever being arrogant.

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