Saturday 24 August 2019

Cyril Farrell: Galway players must walk the walk after Anthony Cunningham removal

It’s ridiculous to say Cunningham lost the All- Ireland
It’s ridiculous to say Cunningham lost the All- Ireland

Cyril Farrell

It's frightening to think that we've gone from being three points up at half-time in an All-Ireland final to the resignation of Anthony Cunningham.

As a Galway man, it's sad to see his reign come to an end and, unfortunately, this could lead to a worrying trend in the GAA.

Player power will throw up more questions than answers in the near future. Are the Galway County Board already compromised before they sit down to pick the next manager?

The players will have a list of people they'd like to see in charge but what if the board don't pick 'the chosen one'?

Are they haemorrhaged before they converge? Do they have to pick a certain name? There are so many banana skins to overcome but if the players keep getting their way, where does it all end?

Is there any point in having a board at all? Do we need them if the players are going to pick everything themselves?

The unwanted management are no longer in place, they'll more than likely get who they want but if they don't win the All-Ireland, what happens then?

Of course if they win it, they'll be vindicated. But everyone must pull together to win it and the trust has been well and truly broken in the county.

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The board have some tough decisions to make and I can't say I envy them. The Galway players have backed themselves into a corner and they simply have to perform. All blame has fallen on the management but, for me, it's a two-way street.

In my time, we'd sit down with players and thrash out how to get back there again next year. We'd look at ourselves and force the players to look in the mirror too.

Managers are not solely at fault for a loss, there has to be a shared responsibility. It's ridiculous to say Cunningham lost the All-Ireland.

Players not facing up to their own responsibility. No one told them not to stand up after half-time. Blaming management is the handy way out.

Is there anyone there with the balls to stand up and say, 'Hold on a minute, maybe that's why we're not winning'. No one took the game by the scruff of the neck when they were needed.

If they'd won, Cunningham and his backroom would've got a sainthood, that's how fickle sport is. The innuendo is that they failed and know nothing about hurling. That's hard to take.

They're hurling men through and through and this will hurt them. The management team have won a lot on the pitch at every level and, to be frank, the players haven't.

I know Anthony and he's made of stern stuff. He's a very intellectual guy, in the same mould as Eamon O'Shea, and he always believed that Galway could win top honours.

This will leave a sour taste. It will take some time to heal and will have managers around the country panicking to make sure this doesn't happen to them.

In all walks of life, and in any management, you have a leader or a boss and they make the rules you operate under, not the other way around.

If they think a lad is dissatisfied or a revolt is likely, they'll get rid of him altogether and cut out the cull.

The players are doing it for the right reasons, they want Liam MacCarthy and their drive is admirable.

But they went the wrong way about getting there. They've talked the talk, now they must to walk the walk.

Irish Independent

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