Thursday 22 March 2018

Donal O’Grady: ‘I feel there were efforts made to discredit me’

Donal O'Grady
Donal O'Grady

Former Limerick manager Donal O’Grady has said he believes there efforts made to discredit him and expressed his disappointment at the statement issued by Limerick County Board yesterday which alleged he resigned via voicemail.

I was disappointed with it because  I feel there were efforts made to discredit me, particularly around the voicemail issue. The statement said that I had effectively resigned on voicemail," O'Grady told RTE's Morning Ireland.

“I spoke with Oliver Mann, I rang him on Sunday and got his voicemail first. We decided I would ring Oliver and we would send out emails to the players as it was important that they found out from us. I couldn’t get Oliver at the start so I left a voicemail and rang him back within minutes. We had a very cordial conversation.

“I said I was impressed with the fact that he admitted immediately at our meeting in Charleville on April 9 that we hadn’t apologised.  He always struck me as decent. He said at the end that he was very disappointed that I was stepping down.”

O’Grady said he was annoyed that it was implied that he had resigned via text message.

“To leave a sentence hanging that I had resigned by voicemail, I think was an effort to discredit me. It would show a distinct lack of respect on my behalf to chairman Oliver Mann and I wanted to refute that. I was very disappointed that it would be put on the Limerick website.

“The whole issue came up because of the language that was used at the county board meeting. There was ‘venom in the eyes’, ‘abysmal displays – languages like that. The whole job of management is to protect the players at all times. We were set down as having apologised for these displays. If you apologise for that, it implies you are agreeing that the players served up abysmal displays. We said at a previous meeting that we took responsibility for the way the team played at all times because a manager has to do that.

“We felt that for the press reports – abysmal displays- were undermining the confidence in the camp. It was the county board’s office suggestion that they would put out a statement on April 12 retracting the fact we had apologised. We were very happy with that. We left the meeting feeling like that was the end of it. The last thing we wanted to do was drag this thing out. As the weke was going, the goalposts appeared to be shifting and there was no resolution to

He said he had no issues with TJ Ryan not stepping down and assuming the role of Limerick boss on his own.

“We had commitments to RTE because they were coming to film head shots of the players and we didn’t want to mess them around. That was in place. There was a charity fundraiser arranged against Cork for next Saturday night so we didn’t want to do anything that would affect.

"We decided that TJ would stay on in the interim. Whatever happens after that, is up to TJ.

"TJ had said to me we came in together and we go together but whatever TJ decides is completely up to him.”

Earlier today, TJ Ryan issued a statement about the affair.

“What has happened over the last two weeks has been regrettable and untimely for Limerick hurling,” said TJ Ryan’s statement.

“I firmly believe that Donal O’Grady and I acted correctly in pursuing a retraction from Co board in connection with comments concerning an apology regarding league performance. The Co board have only now corrected this. We were both fully involved together in this situation and it is unfair to point the finger at Donal O’Grady, as we were not to blame for this. We both felt that arbitration was unnecessary. All that was required was a simple one-line statement,” said Ryan.

“We agreed that I would remain on in the interim as upcoming fixtures, particularly a charity fund-raiser against Cork, were in place. Both myself and Donal worked very well together at all times and training had been going very well. It is regrettable that this issue could not have been sorted immediately and a resolution found. My focus now is to ensure that I along with Paul Beary and Mark Lyons ensure the best preparation is put in place for upcoming Munster championship game, which is the very least our players deserve.”

The row had escalated after the management committe of the Limerick County Board hit back in the row with former joint-manager Donal O'Grady in a statement released yesterday.

The row centres on reports that O'Grady and his co-manager TJ Ryan had apologised for the performance against Offaly during the league campaign that contributed to their failure to secure promotion from Division 1B.

And while yesterday's statement – released after a meeting of Limerick's top brass on Monday night – confirmed no such apology was made, it insisted senior management had "accepted full accountability and taken full responsibility for failing to achieve league promotion".

The committee insisted efforts to clarify an agreed statement were ongoing when O'Grady handed in his resignation late on Sunday night and that the Cork man "was reluctant to agree the statement or engage with a third-party intermediary to finalise an agreed statement".

The county board also confirmed that Ryan would continue until the "conclusion of this year's championship" and that a hurling coach would be appointed as "a priority".

The joint Ryan-O'Grady ticket had been given a two-year term at a county board meeting last November.

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