Sunday 17 November 2019

Meath management hit back at dual star Toher's claim

Meath manager Martin Ennis Photo: Sportsfile
Meath manager Martin Ennis Photo: Sportsfile

Jackie Cahill

Meath hurling manager Martin Ennis and his backroom staff have issued a blistering response to dual star James Toher's claims about his removal from the county's senior panel.

In a statement released to the Meath Chronicle, Toher said that he was dropped from the county's hurling team via text message.

Toher outlined his version of events, saying that he chose to play for the county footballers against Clare on Sunday, April 2, rather than featuring for the hurlers the previous day, in their League Division 2B final against Wicklow.

But this is hotly disputed in a hard-hitting riposte from Ennis and his team, who state that the Trim clubman was informed that he was surplus to requirements six days before the hurling final, and that the news was delivered during the course of a phone conversation.

Management also explain that Toher was met "at least four times" by them as a collective to discuss their concerns surrounding his commitment to the hurling squad, while his "attitude" following one of Meath's games this year was also questioned.

They also insist that Toher met for face-to-face talks with Ennis "four or five times" and that "10 to 15" phone calls were exchanged between the player and management over a three-month period.

Ennis and his colleagues say that they "were prepared to come to some sort of compromise that would allow him to play both". But they insist that Toher "never once trained with the hurlers instead of the footballers - a clear indication of where priorities lay".

They added: "James, in his statement, mentioned his 'disgust' at being dropped by a text. He forgot to mention he had 4/5 sit-down meetings with full hurling management, 4/5 meetings with the manager on his own and countless phone calls over January-March.

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"Rumours arose on the Sunday, after the (Clare) football game, that James was now clear from football and intended to come back in on the following Wednesday. Martin sent a message that night to thank James for his contribution to the League, and that we were moving on without him."

Hurling management also released numbers comparing Toher's attendance at training sessions compared to another player, Jack Walsh, who didn't make the 26-man panel for the League final. From November to February, Meath had 34 training sessions. Toher was there for 16 of those, Walsh at 33.

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