Wednesday 24 May 2017

Players unmoved by McCarthy's call

Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Justin McCarthy has made efforts to contact every one of the disaffected players from the 2009 squad who have refused to play under him.

McCarthy got through to most of them last Friday and had detailed conversations with them about the events of the last six months.

He also offered everyone he spoke to the opportunity to return to the squad and to give notice of their intention by last Saturday evening.

It is understood however none of the 23 players, the 12 who were initially dropped and the 11 who followed them in protest at the manner of the departure, agreed to return.

McCarthy made his approach to the players by telephone on Friday having met with members of the Limerick County Board executive on Thursday evening.

The board were keen that the manager should make the running personally with the disaffected players.

With the exception of Mark Foley, who he had contacted to inform him last October of the changes he was making, it was the first time for McCarthy to make contact with the likes of Stephen Lucey and Brian Geary.

He did not speak personally to every one of the disaffected players but left messages to those that he didn't get through to.

Some of the calls were benign, some a little more fractious with some players preparing detailed questions for their former manager.

Why this series of calls wasn't made last December will perplex many on Shannonside who have become so disenchanted with the whole episode.

The logic of ringing the players he had already decided were surplus to requirements last October would also have to be questioned.

Limerick defender Seamus Hickey said he appreciated the call from McCarthy on Friday morning. Hickey said he outlined his reasons for leaving the squad and why he wouldn't be returning this year.

Closure

"I told him I wasn't happy with the way my colleagues were treated (last October). We left it on good terms. I'm happy he made the call because it gives me closure now," he said.

Hickey said he would, if invited, return to a Limerick squad in the future under different management and he acknowledged that if a call had come from McCarthy much earlier in the dispute, it could have gone some way to resolving the issue.

McCarthy was emboldened by the 83-47 endorsement from clubs and his team performed creditably against Offaly on the back of that.

So far all the disaffected players have held the line but perhaps when the league is over there may be a change of heart in some cases.

Irish Independent

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