Tuesday 21 August 2018

Fermanagh chiefs step up efforts to end stand-off within county

Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Fermanagh's management committee will meet again tonight to discuss further the stand-off between a number of their most established inter-county players and the team management, which has resulted in an exodus from the squad in recent weeks.

The management committee met on Monday night to discuss the impasse and the findings of a consultation process set up jointly by the GAA and the Gaelic Players Association (GPA).

That process was the first of its kind under the protocols agreed by the GAA and GPA when they signed up to a five-year deal in January.

It is understood that a more detailed statement was ready to be released yesterday but was withdrawn and that a new statement will now be framed and considered by the management committee tonight. That statement is expected to be released tomorrow.

In the meantime, at least three of the 10 players who have departed in recent weeks are expected to make it clear publicly later today that their grievances are not directly with the management and that they have left for other reasons.


Four players signed a letter submitted to the county board last week apparently stating that they would be happy to play for Fermanagh again, but not under the current management.

It is unlikely, even in light of the negotiations, that any of that quartet would return. And it is far from certain that the negotiators will be able to bring satisfactory resolution to all parties in the short term.

Fermanagh has one of the smallest playing populations in the country and can ill afford to be without any players, never mind up to 16 who are out of action for one reason or another.

The likes of Ryan Carson, Ryan McCluskey, Shane McDermott and Ciaran McElroy were all unavailable at the outset and turned down requests from the management to join the panel.

Seamus Quigley, Fergal Murphy, Shane Lyons and Daryl Keenan have all left in recent weeks, following Tommy McElroy, Niall Bogue, Mark Little, Ciaran Flaherty and James and Peter Sherry, who are believed to be disillusioned with the set-up under manager John O'Neill.

Under the terms of the GAA/GPA protocols, all parties, including disaffected players, have committed to not speaking publicly about the issues at stake.

In the most recent Cork and Limerick disputes, comments made early on created trenchant positions that were difficult to escape, so it was hard to find room for manoeuvre.

Irish Independent

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