Monday 11 December 2017

Loughnane: Banner chairman's position 'utterly untenable'

Ger Loughnane has lambasted Clare chairman Michael McDonagh
Ger Loughnane has lambasted Clare chairman Michael McDonagh
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

Double All-Ireland winning manager Ger Loughnane has blasted Clare county chairman Michael McDonagh, insisting his position is "completely and utterly untenable."

In an interview with the Clare Champion, Loughnane alleged that McDonagh was using his position on the county board to gain a Fianna Fail nomination at today's convention, which takes place in Ennis.

Loughnane, who steered the Banner to All-Ireland titles in 1995 and '97, went on to claim that McDonagh's "interest is not in the future of Clare hurling."

And he branded his current course of action a "PR exercise" and an "insult to people's intelligence".

"I think the chairman's position, by his actions, is completely and utterly untenable," Loughnane said.

"If we want to have a future, we need to look at the whole set-up - and that includes officers in the county board. Have we the right officers to pursue the right agenda for the future?

"His (Michael McDonagh's) interest is short-term and his interest is not in the future of Clare hurling. His interest is in his own popularity. He is pursuing a political career and all of his own utterances and actions are aiming to improve his status in the area.

"It has nothing whatsoever to do with the future of Clare hurling. It's just a PR exercise that is so badly carried out that it's an insult to people's intelligence that he thinks he is getting away with it."

McDonagh dismissed Loughnane's allegations and insisted the comments are timed to interfere with his candidacy.

"The suggestion that any comments I made are self-serving or politically motivated are wrong and appear to me to be intentionally misleading and intended to damage my candidacy in Friday's Fianna Fáil selection convention," he said.

"In politics, as in life, it is nearly as important to have the right people against you, as to have the right people backing you."

Clare have enjoyed something of a golden era of late, winning three consecutive All-Ireland U-21 titles as well as the Liam MacCarthy Cup in 2013. However, the Banner seniors have disappointed in the two Championship campaigns since, beating only Offaly.

And while officials moved quickly to secure Davy Fitzgerald's future as manager in the wake of their exit from the Championship at the hands of Cork, there was some criticism locally that the clubs weren't consulted.

Elsewhere, Longford will look to appoint a successor to Jack Sheedy from within the county.

Sheedy stepped down from the post after they were hammered by Kildare in the qualifiers, and county chairman Brendan Gilmore favours an internal appointment.

"There will obviously be less travelling and the likes that come with all of that," he said.

"There will be names that will be talked about. There are a lot of fellas in Longford capable of running the county team. At the end of the day, it will be the best horse that jumps the ditch."

Longford clubs will have until Tuesday to make nominations for the post and county secretary Peter Reilly added: "Things move on fairly quickly and the process is in train. We have sought nominations from the clubs.

"We had a management meeting and in discussions afterwards the opinion was the first place we would seek a new manager was at home in Longford and we will move in those lines."

Irish Independent

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