Saturday 17 August 2019

'Kangaroo court decision' drives furious Cunningham out of Galway job

Gaelic Games

Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Anthony Cunningham lost his job as Galway hurling manager to a "kangaroo court decision" driven by a group of hurlers who wanted to prolong their careers.

That was the furious parting shot of the man who led the county to two All-Ireland hurling finals in the past four years as he tendered his resignation just two hours before a Galway County Board vote was due to take place to decide his future.

Cunningham signed off by describing his players as "misguided" and failing to show respect to Galway's clubs supporters and county boards.

He also warned of a "national danger" that "the democratic and voluntary ethos of the GAA is being overrun by groups of players that wish to indulge in the selection and termination of management".

He suggested that the heave against him was orchestrated, not just by a core group of players but with "the help of others outside Galway".

He said they were "placing personal agendas above the greater good of Galway hurling".

Cunningham (right) admitted he was leaving his position "reluctantly" after battling to remain in place for the last seven weeks since Galway players informed their county board that they had lost confidence in their manager.

That position was reiterated on Sunday night when the players met and 26 out of 32 polled expressed no confidence in him. A second vote found that 23 of the 32 would not play for him in 2016 if he received the green light from the board to continue.

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In a very hard-hitting statement, Cunningham claimed it was "unreasonable" of the players to express a lack of confidence in a management they had reached an All-Ireland final with only weeks earlier and that "there were no reasonable explanations offered or given as to the issues that players felt they had".

Galway are due to leave for Boston on Friday to take part in the Super 11s Fenway Classic against Dublin at the home of the famed Red Sox baseball team on Sunday.

Among those who may head the list of potential replacements are Michael Donoghue, manager of the Clarinbridge team that won the 2011 All-Ireland club hurling title, Cunningham's former selector Mattie Kenny who sought the job last year and has guided Dublin's Cuala to a Leinster final, former Portumna All-Ireland-winning manager Johnny Kelly and 2015 All-Ireland-winning minor manager Jeff Lynskey.

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