Monday 19 March 2018

Fallout can give Treaty bit of an edge – O'Grady

Limerick hurler Donal O'Grady
Limerick hurler Donal O'Grady
Limerick hurling manager TJ Ryan
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Limerick's Munster title-winning hurling captain Donal O'Grady has insisted that the recent fallout from the departure of his namesake as joint-manager won't be held up as an excuse this summer.

O'Grady believes the Munster champions will defend their title as a "united camp" and that the controversy over the former Cork manager has been "parked".

Limerick returned to training last night ahead of their meeting with Tipperary in the first Munster semi-final in three weeks' time and O'Grady sounded a strong rallying call at the launch of the Munster GAA championships.

"Everybody thinks it automatically has a huge negative effect on the camp, but it's not an excuse, we've parked it and it won't be an issue," he said.

"We've learned an awful lot from Donal O'Grady up to now. Donal was with us during the league, however, and performances weren't that good.

"It can give us a bit of an edge," reasoned O'Grady on the fallout. "It can unite us. We are a united camp there's no doubt, but it can bring us that bit tighter and we can go to Thurles all guns blazing."

The Limerick midfielder said there was initial frustration when it emerged that O'Grady was stepping down over the delay in correcting a suggestion by county board chief executive Mike O'Riordan at a board meeting that the Treaty management had apologised for performances in a disappointing Division 1B campaign when they met with board officers.

"There was disappointment – just in the sense that most counties have these issues and they are kept in-house. In Limerick, it takes over events and it goes national and everybody goes, 'ah, that's Limerick off again'.

"I've no doubt there are other issues in other counties that are worse and they are swept under the carpet in how they are handled.

"You might think, 'here we go again' but from the players' point of view, everybody just knew our roles and not to get involved in it, and I think that was a key part in it.

"I spoke directly with Donal on Monday and he told me his reasons. I just said to him that we respect him enough to know that we're not going to change his mind by calling his phone 10 times. We respected his decision, but we were disappointed. In fairness to TJ (Ryan), I think he and Donal had a good chat before the decision was made. TJ has taken up the reins and we had a very positive chat after it.

"I don't know what went on in the meeting originally for the county board to come out and say those things. Whatever happened between them, obviously Donal wasn't happy about it. The one good thing about it was that the players knew nothing about it at all up until the email going out on the Sunday night.

"Donal is a man of principle and if he didn't think himself and the county board were seeing eye to eye then that's his decision."

O'Grady knows there are risks attached to going from a poor Division 1B campaign into a Munster semi-final against Tipp.

"Obviously, there are question marks over whether the team can play to the level of a Munster championship semi-final without having much preparations in the sense of playing in 1B and not more high-intensity matches. That will always be in the back of our minds.

"But things are going well enough now that we're going in with a real good chance. Confidence is high in the camp."

Irish Independent

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