Thursday 22 August 2019

Anthony Cunningham blames 'misguided' players and others 'outside Galway' for forced resignation

Anthony Cunningham is no longer the Galway manager
Anthony Cunningham is no longer the Galway manager

Cormac Byrne

Anthony Cunningham has tendered his resignation and will not lead the Galway hurlers in 2016.

Hurling in Galway was plunged into crisis seven weeks ago when the players voted against Cunningham leading the county into next year's campaign despite guiding them to an All-Ireland final this year.

The news of the revolt broke days after Cunningham was ratified for a further year in charge.

He appeared on RTE News this evening, watch below:

There was no solution to the impasse as a mediation process failed to find an agreement

The Galway squad again cast a vote of no confidence in Anthony Cunningham remaining on as their manager last night. It is believed that the players voted by 26 to 6 against Cunningham.

A second vote was also taken whereby members of the outgoing hurling squad were asked if they would play on if Cunningham was ratified by the board, and a majority (understood to be 23-9) voted to say that they would not continue under the current manager.

It is understood that it was a secret ballot, but was observed independently.

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Cunningham resigned from his post this evening ahead of  A County board meeting tonight that was due to decide on his future.

Cunningham released a statement claiming the players were 'misguided' in their stance.

The statement read: "Despite the fact that I was unanimously ratified and supported by the Galway GAA clubs, the County Hurling and Galway County Committees and having reviewed the current impasse in detail over the past month, it is with great sadness tonight that I and my management team announce our resignation from our positions.

"I do so with the best interests of Galway hurling in mind and with the priority of best assisting Galway hurling to build on the achievement of 2015.

"As a management team we have exhausted all avenues with support from the clubs, their delegates, the hurling fraternity and County Committees in the past month to bring this impasse to a conclusion and protect Galway hurling. Despite extensive attempts at genuine dialogue including Independent Arbitration, there were no reasonable explanations offered or given as to the issues the players felt they had.

"I believe that the players are misguided in that they are not taking the view of their county on board. They, through their actions, have shown scant respect for, and loyalty to the goodwill shown to them by supporters, clubs and the county GAA committees and Management.

"I contend that it is unreasonable to express a lack of confidence in management - how else could we have reached a winning position in an All-Ireland final last September.

"I consider this a kangaroo court decision, led by a core group of players orchestrated with the help of others outside Galway, motivated by a desire to unjustly extend their lifespan as inter-county players, placing personal agendas above the greater good of Galway hurling. This goes to the very core of what our association stands for - there is national danger now 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.

"Galway Hurling is bigger than any one individual and given that this current impasse shows no immediate sign of abating, I reluctantly conclude that it is best that I now step aside.

"I hold a deep conviction that the current Galway management team is the one best positioned to deliver Galway hurling to the next level and bring All-Ireland Senior hurling success to our county. I thank my family, my management team colleagues and their families for their support, and I am very sensitive the hurt they have endured in the recent past. I salute the county officials and officers and numerous volunteers who have given me magnificent support over the last five years.

"With Disappointment and Sincerity, Anthony Cunningham."

Cunningham led Galway to a Leinster title in 2012, his first year in charge, and they went on to lose the All-Ireland after a replay.

After average seasons in 2013 and 2014, Galway returned to the September showpiece this year and were leading at half-time before being reeled in by Kilkenny.

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