Monday 20 November 2017

'Disappointed' Pete McGrath reveals how player heave forced his shock Fermanagh exit

Pete McGrath Photo: Sportsfile
Pete McGrath Photo: Sportsfile Newsdesk Newsdesk

Player power has reared its head in the GAA again after two-time All-Ireland winning manager Pete McGrath resigned from his position with Fermanagh over the weekend.

After high profile heaves against Pat Holmes and Noel Connelly in Mayo and the ousting of Anthony Cunningham by the Galway hurlers, the player power phenomenon has struck again.

Fermanagh had released a statement earlier this month to say that McGrath, who managed Down to All-Ireland triumphs in 1991 and 1994, would be staying on for a fifth year but has opted out after some of the players aired certain grievances.

Speaking on The Marty Squad this evening on RTE Radio One, he said: "It was obvious that there were things [the players] weren't happy about and there was a strong possibility that if the current manager or management team was put back in place that a number of senior players would not commit to Fermanagh for 2018.

"That really started the whole process of uncertainty. Management met again in the aftermath of that. Our management team had a long discussion about was it wise for us to go ahead, should we go ahead.

"We felt we should, that whatever issues players had could be dealt with.

"There are always issues when you get 35 or 38 adults working together there's always going to be issues or differences of opinion. But it just got to a stage where players were saying, 'no', they wanted a change. It led me to a position where I felt it made no sense for me to stay as manager. I took the decision to stand down.

"I didn't allow players to stay in a comfort zone and at different times players weren't allowing management to stay in a comfort zone, which is a good thing."

"The issues that were mentioned to me were not major issues, and in fact in my view in some cases they were non-issues."

McGrath, who took the Ernesider's to the All-Ireland quarter-final in 2015, was gutted with the way his journey with the team ended.

"I feel a bit disappointed the way it ended because over the four years I was in Fermanagh I felt there was always a very mature, honest, transparent, robust approach taken in terms of how we were going to go forward together.

"I didn't allow players to stay in a comfort zone and at different times players weren't allowing management to stay in a comfort zone, which is a good thing. That's a very positive dynamic.

"I felt there was great trust. Everything has to come to an end and you always hope when the end comes that it's going to be one in which you walk away and you feel you've reached the limit, and there's no acrimony, and there's no ill feeling and that trust and integrity is still there. Unfortunately, the way this ended, that isn't the case. That's my only regret."

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