Cooney seeks unity to heal Treaty hurt
AFTER Tuesday night's Limerick County Board meeting overwhelmingly endorsed Justin McCarthy's reign as the county's senior hurling manager, GAA president Christy Cooney called on all parties in the dispute to "pull together in the interest of Limerick hurling".
Cooney wants to see the issue "put to bed" and backed county chairman Liam Lenihan's decision not to entertain any further votes of no confidence in McCarthy.
"Clubs made their vote," Cooney said. "It was a democratic vote and they voted to leave the status quo as it is which leaves Justin McCarthy in charge of the team going forward. I believe this should be put to bed now.
"At this stage, there is an onus and responsibility on Justin McCarthy, as well and his management team and the players and the County Board, to begin the healing process, to get everybody back together, sit down and move forward in the interests of Limerick hurling.
"The players have to make that individual decision themselves. I heard the county chairman say in an interview that the door was open to players.
"They all have a choice, of course, as to whether they want to play or don't want to play but I would encourage them now to sit back now and have a look at where things are.
"The County Board and their clubs have made the decision. I would like them to consider their position for the good of Limerick and, if they are considered for selection, to make themselves available. It has gone through a very democratic process over nearly six months now but it is time to move on."
Croke Park authorities, along with the GPA, hope to have a document drawn up that will outline protocol in any future disputes before Congress next month but Cooney admitted the league had been damaged by the saga.
"It hasn't been good for the National League even though I would say that it has probably been more competitive than we have seen for years. But it would be great to see a competitive Limerick playing as well," Cooney continued.
"Now there is the chance to move that on. Whether Limerick will get to the heights that they would wish for themselves in this year's league and championship, I am not too sure, but no individual should leave any stone unturned in trying to achieve that.
"There are a lot of positives happening in Limerick in the last couple of weeks. The Harty Cup victory for Ard Scoil Ris in Limerick, and they have been very successful in other under-age competitions. There is a very positive vibe around the development of hurling in Limerick at grassroots level.
"Everything doesn't centre around the senior hurling team. There are a lot of other parts of the association that are vibrant in Limerick, but of course a strong senior hurling team inevitably working together and moving forward is massively in the interest of promoting and developing the game."
Cooney agreed that more games could be played in Croke Park after the tenancy of soccer and rugby expired, but also warned the management committee would be looking at the use of GAA facilities by other codes after attention was drawn to the issue when the Irish rugby team trained in facilities associated with Cork club Nemo Rangers.
"I don't think Nemo are the only club under the microscope, we'll have to look at that whole situation and how we are going to manage it," he said. "There's a rule there and we are very clear on our rules with regard to the use of association property and there is no change on that. It's something we have to monitor.
"I think it's on a very limited basis. We'll look at it very closely before we come out and condemn and criticise and make sure that we are being fair and balanced on clubs."