Sunderland's Kildare hurlers back in training as dispute ends
Kildare's hurlers will resume training tomorrow night after a dispute over costs for the season ahead was concluded amicably.
The players have been kicking their heels for the past two weeks after manager Willie Sunderland, selectors Mattie Dowd and Don McSweeney, and coach Bertie Sherlock stood down in protest against a budget cut of more than 30pc on the previous season.
Sunderland launched a scathing attack on the board, claiming that the hurlers were being denied basic medical expertise and equipment, pitches, and an ability to organise challenge matches due to the cuts.
The Wexford native has been in talks with county chairman John McMahon in the interim, however, and a statement was released on Saturday confirming the return of the management team.
"Agreement has been reached on all concerns raised by the management team. Players and management are now looking forward to returning to training with immediate effect and focusing on the year ahead," it read.
It is understood that McMahon has given a written commitment to providing the necessary training gear and equipment, physios, medical equipment and other basic requirements, bringing about an increase in the overall budget.
The cash-strapped board has been forced to cut costs due to severe financial difficulties, with the deficit lying at €700,000. With Kildare winning the Division 2B title last year, Sunderland is keen to step up preparations given that the Lilywhites are operating at a higher level this term.
It is thought that an announcement on a new sponsor could be imminent and that this should help free up some more funds, particularly for a team that was told it would have to prepare on €70,000, compared with just more than €100,000 in 2012.
Kildare have a bye in the opening round of the Kehoe Cup and will play their first game on January 27, against the winners of Louth and Queen's University, Belfast.