Friday 24 November 2017

Former Galway boss reveals the four-player delegation who informed Anthony Cunningham of player unrest

Galway manager Anthony Cunningham
Galway manager Anthony Cunningham
Declan Whooley

Declan Whooley

Former Galway hurling manager John McIntyre has revealed that four players met Anthony Cunningham 24 hours before he was ratified as manager for another term to air squad grievances.

Cunningham was ratified for a fifth year at a County Board meeting last week, but many of the Galway players had convened the day before to discuss management and coaching issues and it was agreed to inform Cunningham of the mood of that meeting.

Writing in the Connacht Tribune, McIntyre has revealed that Joe Canning was among the players that spoke to Cunningham prior to his re-appointment.

"The Galway manager was met by a delegation of four players comprising of team captain David Collins, vice-captain Andy Smith and two members of the players leadership group, Joe Canning and David Burke, to inform him of the mood for change among the squad and that they had lost faith in his ability to take them further," he wrote.

One account suggests that as many as 24 players were opposed to their manager of four years continuing, but that can't be verified. Whether the players informed the Board of their views ahead of last Monday's meeting is unclear.

The issues are believed to be related more to coaching and tactical issues rather than logistics or spending on the team, which may have been additional factors for the impasse across the border in Mayo last week.

The Galway squad had previously convened at the end of April, in the wake of their dismal exit to Waterford in the League, to gauge a mood about the management. The conclusion drawn then was that they weren't equipped to lead them to an All-Ireland title. But it was felt by a majority that it was too close to the commencement of the Championship to 'make a move.'

Cunningham is the first manager to guide Galway to two All-Ireland finals since Cyril Farrell.

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