Saturday 20 January 2018

'Rumours about Tipp players are horrible - and total rubbish,' says legend English

Former Tipperary hurling captain Nicky English. Picture: Sportsfile
Former Tipperary hurling captain Nicky English. Picture: Sportsfile
Conor Feehan

Conor Feehan

Tipperary hurling legend Nicky English has waded in to defend his county team's honour after rumours of unrest in the camp and the personal lives of players started to rumble in recent days.

The county's four-point loss to Cork in last month's Munster quarter-final was the starting point of the criticism and rumours of wild disagreements.

It is understood the personal lives of some panel members were brought under scrutiny and a vicious rumour mill got out of control as a result.

But Mr English poured cold water on the rumours, and said the team were just beaten by a better side on the day. He also denied reports of a punch-up.

"It's very typical of Tipperary when they lose games that they're expected to win that there's a whole slew of rumours comes out as people go looking for what the excuse for the defeat was.

Tough

"There was no excuse. They were beaten on the day by a better team," Mr English said.

"It's very tough on the people who are central to those rumours and their families, and you know there's been a huge amount of rubbish all the week on social media," he added.

Asked about a rumoured punch-up in the camp, Mr English tried to defuse the ever-growing rumour mill.

"There was certainly no punch-up, and I mean that's the basis for all the allegations and rumours, horrible rumours about the players and their families on social media all the week. Really, it's sad, to be honest," he said.

The dropping from the panel of All-Star defender Cathal Barrett for disciplinary reasons by manager Michel Ryan was the focus of a lot of attention, but Mr English moved to distance that from the rest of the rumours. "There's been a disciplinary issue with Cathal Barrett. He's been dropped as I understand, but any of the rest of the rumours, they're totally untrue, from what I hear," he said, speaking to Ivan Yates on Newstalk radio.

He added that manager Michael Ryan was tough enough over his handling of the Barrett situation, but insists that the 2014 Young Hurler of the Year should be considered for a recall later in the summer if he can overcome a knee injury he suffered in the Cork loss.

"I certainly think Mick is very straight and he's tough as well, and you know there has been talk that Cathal Barrett had warnings in the past for his discipline, or maybe lack of discipline, and that there was some incident," Mr English said.

"For me, Cathal Barrett is a great player and if Tipperary are still in the championship, which, God knows whether they will be or not, but if they're still in the championship then Cathal Barrett will have to be looked at again later on in the year."

Mr English's comments come after Offaly legend Michael Duignan condemned the spread of what he called "malicious" accusations about the Tipperary hurlers after rumours emerged during the week of division in the team.

"It's been a very, very bad week just in general for society from a moral point of view," Mr Duignan said.

"The rumour that has gone around about some of those Tipperary players and some of their families has been absolutely disgusting, in my view. It's horrific.

"To me, making up malicious rumours about decent people and the damage that must have had on them this week, on the players, on their families, on their work colleagues, it just must have been a very difficult week for them all," he added.

Irish Independent

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