Saturday 10 December 2016

Galway in crisis as hurlers turn on manager Anthony Cunningham

Damian Lawlor

Published 03/10/2015 | 22:37

6 September 2015; Galway manager Anthony Cunningham reacts after defeat to Kilkenny. GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Final, Kilkenny v Galway, Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: Diarmuid Greene / SPORTSFILE
6 September 2015; Galway manager Anthony Cunningham reacts after defeat to Kilkenny. GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Final, Kilkenny v Galway, Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: Diarmuid Greene / SPORTSFILE

Galway hurling was tonight thrown into crisis with reports of a player revolt against the continuation of manager Anthony Cunningham at the helm.

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In recent days, some of the county's hurling team have made their views known to the Galway hurling board regarding the extension of the manager's tenure.

Cunningham, with a notable pedigree as both player and manager, has come very close to overseeing an historic breakthrough for his county. Last month he led the county to a second All-Ireland final in four seasons. But now he faces a fight to hang onto his position, despite strong backing from the board.

The current squad met last weekend, and it's understood that the players are 100 per cent united in their stance to seek a change in manager. Player representatives made their views known to the manager.

But at a county board meeting two days later the St Thomas' clubman was given the thumbs up and ratified for another year in the role. This has annoyed the squad who are now determined to make their feelings known.

Just a day after Mayo's co-managers Noel Connelly and Pat Holmes stepped down in the wake of player unrest, Cunningham could now face a similar scenario.

He has come as close as any Galway manager since Cyril Farrell to winning an All-Ireland senior title, and he has also introduced a wealth of young talent to the squad with players like Padraig and Cathal Mannions, Conor Whelan and Jason Flynn thriving this season.

But this did not spare him from some harsh questioning at last week's board meeting.

And aghast at how quickly the board extended his term, the players, galvanised by the unity shown across the border in Mayo, will now fight all the way to get what they want.

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