Sunday 18 March 2018

McCarthy future looks bleak as Croke Park refuse to mediate

Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Sort it out yourselves -- there is nothing we can do.

That was the clear message from Croke Park officials to their Limerick counterparts in a conference call yesterday as the prospect of mediation in the ongoing dispute between many of the county's best players and Justin McCarthy faded.

Croke Park are expected to get back to Limerick officials today to officially confirm their stance.

Last week's county board meeting had decided to canvass the players on whether or not they were prepared to enter into mediation with officials from Croke Park.

The vast majority of the players contacted on Wednesday and Thursday by county secretary Mike O'Riordan agreed to enter talks but specified that, on the substantive issue of playing under McCarthy again, they would not be changing their position.

It had been assumed that Croke Park officials would be available to step in if required. But reading the clear signs that there was going to be no movement from the players on the issue of playing for McCarthy again, Croke Park has decided not to get involved.

Last year, GAA director general Paraic Duffy and then president-elect Christy Cooney entered talks with the Cork players and board to try and resolve their dispute. But after producing a document of reform the stumbling block was still the retention of Gerald McCarthy as manager.

Twelve months earlier Duffy had also made himself available to travel to Cork to try and resolve the 2007/08 dispute involving the footballers and hurlers.

Members of the Limerick executive were scheduled to meet last night to discuss the next option for them.

With no input from Croke Park the clubs in Limerick will now be expected to convene again and take a position on the impasse, two months on from a previous vote of confidence in McCarthy that prevailed by 70 votes to 54.

That support doesn't look like it is there now for McCarthy after a demoralising challenge match defeat to Carlow in recent weeks.

The team did improve last weekend in a defeat to Clare but have lost goalkeeper Timmy Houlihan. McCarthy's prospects of remaining in charge beyond next week now look bleak indeed.

Irish Independent

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