Limerick stand by McCarthy
Clubs ignore player power with overwhelming support for boss
defiant Limerick County Board chairman Liam Lenihan has vowed not to entertain any further votes of no confidence in Justin McCarthy after the Corkman was given a ringing endorsement to continue as the county's hurling manager last night.
In a dramatic development, support for McCarthy actually increased from the December vote of no confidence, which he won by 70 votes to 54.
Three months later, that support had shot up to 83-47 despite defeats in their first four league matches to Galway, Cork, Waterford and Tipperary.
From the clubs, it wasn't so much a decision to back McCarthy as a desire to call a halt to the burgeoning power players wield in these situations.
Limerick have been through seven managers and have won just three Munster championship games in the last decade and that clearly weighed heavily on delegates' minds.
The motion to remove McCarthy had strong support from many of the senior clubs in the county, but clearly the groundswell of opinion among delegates from clubs below that and at committee level was that he should stay. A two-thirds majority was required but realistically was unattainable for the five clubs who had tabled the motions.
But the failure to achieve even a simple majority and render McCarthy a 'lame duck' manager was a significant blow to the lobby opposing the former Waterford manager.
"This is the end of the matter now. The clubs of the county have spoken. Whatever decision was made the clubs said they would back it 100pc. That is very encouraging," said Lenihan afterwards.
Lenihan has appealed to the players and the clubs of those players who refuse to return to McCarthy's squad to return.
"I would never give up hope. We all make decisions in life but people change their minds. It won't be on the agenda again," he warned.
The Limerick chairman said McCarthy would now see out the rest of his two-year term. "We made a deal with Justin McCarthy. I shook hands with him. It was a two-year contract and we will review it at the end of two years. There are a few months down the road and we will review it again.
"A line is drawn under it. To get the unanimous support of the clubs, that whatever decision was made, they would stick by it, that was very important."
Lenihan conceded that damage to Limerick has been done. "It has done damage, there is no question about that. My job now as chairman is to heal those wounds as quickly as possible."
One prominent Limerick player, who did not wish to be named, admitted last night that he was "very surprised" by the outcome of the vote, before adding: "The vibes weren't good beforehand. Many delegates felt the season was already over for Limerick hurling."
He added that he as far as he knew none of the 23 disaffected players would be returning under the current regime.