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Players turn up heat on McCarthy

THE exiled Limerick hurlers have accused current management of attempting to "intimidate" some of their group to return to Justin McCarthy's squad and lashed out at county board management, claiming evidence that some had "actively canvassed" clubs to vote for his retention as manager.

In a 1,667 word long, hard-hitting statement signed by the 24 players from last year's squad who are not currently involved in the 2010 panel, the players strongly refute the allegations of indiscipline and call on those who have suggested that a handful of experienced players were influencing some of the younger members to produce evidence or "refrain from spreading malicious lies".


While accepting that management are "entitled to select the 30 or so players they chose for the 2010 Limerick senior hurling panel, and are perfectly entitled to omit any players as they see fit", the 24 stress the root of the dispute is McCarthy's "failure, even still, to extend common courtesy to the dropped players by informing them (either by phone or letter) that they would not be required for the forthcoming season."

Limerick statement, key points:

> "At no time over the course of approximately 100 training sessions or gatherings did Mr McCarthy make any reference to a "lack of discipline or commitment".

> "As a result of his failure to clarify instances where discipline was breached or a lack of commitment was evident, each player made a voluntary decision regarding their availability for the 2010 panel under the current management."

> "Only when there were player withdrawals did the management seek a meeting with the players who withdrew from the panel."

> "At no point was any individual player unduly influenced or forced into making a decision by any other player."

> "Before the qualifier game against Wexford in July of this year...players took the unprecedented step of organising our own game plan in the absence of any acceptance from management that our performances to that point were sub standard."

> "There is anecdotal evidence to suggest that many junior and intermediate clubs had been actively canvassed by members of the management and the county board to vote in favour of Justin McCarthy's retention. In many cases, false information and rumours were initiated to reflect poorly on certain members of the 2009 panel, and thereby influence the vote."

> "Many players received intimidating phone calls from members of the management and backroom staff putting them under pressure to join the 2010 Limerick senior hurling panel."

The Limerick county board will meet tonight where the statement is expected to be raised for debate and there could could yet be a vote of no confidence proposed in McCarthy and, possibly, the officers of the board.

The statement is signed by David Bulfin, Tom Condon, Damien Cosgrave, Eoin Foley, Mark Foley, Brian Geary, Seamus Hickey, Stephen Lucey, Wayne McNamara, Denis Moloney, Niall Moran, Ollie Moran, Brian Murray, James O'Brien, Mike O'Brien, Donal O'Grady, Gavin O Mahoney, Mark O'Riordan, Andrew O'Shaughnessy, Damien Reale, Donie Ryan, James Ryan, Donncha Sheehan and Stephen Walsh who have all reiterated that they will not play for Limerick in 2010 while McCarthy remains as manager.