Limerick's exiled hurlers stand firm on McCarthy involvement
Limerick's hurlers will go through the process of mediation with Croke Park officials as prescribed by this week's County Board meeting, but they will not change their stance on refusing to play for a Limerick team while manager Justin McCarthy remains involved.
That was the clear message delivered to county secretary Mike O'Riordan yesterday as he contacted a majority of the 24 players who have either been axed by McCarthy or who have walked away in protest at the manner of their colleagues' treatment and the fall-out from it.
O'Riordan was tasked with contacting all the players to ascertain if they would be willing to engage with Croke Park-appointed mediators and possibly the GPA.
The request to enter some form of mediation will be met by the players but none see any resolution that incorporates McCarthy remaining at the helm, or even staying involved, and will merely re-affirm their reasons for walking away in the first place.
One player contacted by the Irish Independent said he would honour a request for mediation but didn't see the point if a potential compromise involved McCarthy.
Mediation plans involving Croke Park officials may not take place over the weekend because there are Management and Central Council meetings slated for tomorrow in addition to the All-Ireland Junior and Intermediate Club finals.
But Limerick spokesperson Helen Cross said mediation was likely "in some shape or form".
She said there appeared to be broad agreement from the players contacted that they would talk to Croke Park officials, but whether McCarthy would be involved or not remained to be seen.
Limerick chairman Liam Lenihan said he was "optimistic" that talks will now take place.
A special Board meeting on the the future of McCarthy still looks the most likely scenario sometime next week when he is unlikely to have the majority support he enjoyed eight days before Christmas.
Meanwhile, Limerick have announced a 30-man squad ahead of the National League that includes the five members of the 2009 squad who have agreed to play under McCarthy.