LIMERICK'S one-point defeat in Tullamore yesterday ended a fruitless weekend for Justin McCarthy on two fronts.
The embattled Treaty County manager's young side are still without a league point and the spectre of relegation hangs over his head, but of equal disappointment to Limerick hurling fans will be his failure to lure any of the disaffected 2009 squad back to action after renewed efforts on Friday.
McCarthy made attempts to contact all 23 of last year's squad who are not currently hurling for Limerick and offered each of them -- including the 12 players who he controversially dropped -- a place in his squad. The Corkman issued Saturday night as his deadline for a decision but did not receive one positive response.
"I told him I wasn't happy with the way my colleagues were treated," said Seamus Hickey, one of the 11 players who were not dropped but subsequently withdrew their services in protest. "We left it on good terms.
"I'm happy he made the call because it gives me closure now," he added.
McCarthy and his selector, Brian Ryan, refused to speak to any media outlet after yesterday's 2-17 to 3-13 defeat by Offaly in protest at what they perceive as unfair coverage of the saga. But his offer of a squad place for those he had already decided had no more to offer Limerick hurling will no doubt raise eyebrows around the county.
One of those, former captain Mark Foley, says McCarthy's initial refusal to communicate his decisions to those affected still hurts, while his accusation of indiscipline still rankles.
"Most players are still very hurt," said Foley. They're upset at the way that their case was handled."
Another of the dropped dozen, Ollie Moran, said that a public acknowledgement of his own wrongdoing would help start the healing process.
"If he put his hand up and said 'look, there wasn't an issue with lack of discipline,' it would certainly be a step in the right direction. I would imagine that that certainly would be a starting point," Moran said.