Saturday 21 September 2019

Dub hurlers refuse to play amid claims of intimidation

Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

THE Dublin hurling crisis deepened yesterday when the senior hurling squad announced that they are sticking to their guns and will not play for the county under an interim management team, headed by the county chairman, John Bailey.

They also claim they were intimidated at a meeting in Parnell Park last Thursday night.

The players refused to train on Thursday after being told that Bailey would head an interim management team following the removal of Humphrey Kelleher as boss after the Leinster first round defeat by Laois.

The squad have now called on the County Board to install a new management team immediately with no pre-conditions, regarding players who may be selected.

The statement, which was issued through the GPA, said that a letter would be drafted by the squad for presentation to the Dublin County Board, outlining their view of how the situation had reached such an impasse and suggesting ways forward.

The urgency of the situation is underlined by the fact that Dublin are due to play their first game in the Guinness All-Ireland qualifiers on Saturday, June 18.

The statement reads:

"Following last Friday's meeting of the Dublin senior hurling squad, when there were 31 players in attendance, the players have taken the following decisions in the best interest of Dublin hurling:

a) Under no circumstances will we fulfil any fixture with the proposed 'interim' management team as presented to us last Thursday night in Parnell Park, which included John Bailey at the helm.

b) The players have taken serious issue with the threat implied or otherwise that Dublin hurlers who did not accept this 'interim' management team would be forbidden from playing with Dublin in the future.

Although these claims were categorically denied by the County Board chairman John Bailey on local radio on Friday evening, we wish to re-emphasise that this intimidation of players did occur last Thursday night in Parnell Park.

As players, we feel very strongly that no player should now or at any stage in the future be subjected to such abuse by a member of the County Board or management team. We ask that this issue be addressed in the appropriate forum.

c) The players will draft a letter which we request to be read out at a full meeting of the Dublin County Board this week outlining, in detail, the events of the past week and our current position on the matter.

d) We ask the County Board to seek out and put in place a satisfactory management team, as an interim measure, before making a full-time appointment. Meanwhile the squad will continue to train collectively in preparation for our vital upcoming championship matches.

e) We feel it is now time to "wipe the slate clean" and request that the incoming management have no restrictions placed upon them by the County Board regarding which players can or cannot be selected for Dublin. We do not consider these demands to be excessive. Our hope is that this matter can be resolved as quickly as possible to the satisfaction of all the players involved."

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