Saturday 14 December 2019

McCarthy may front new move to end impasse

Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Limerick County Board is to make a last-ditch attempt to try and persuade of some of the disaffected hurlers to return to the fold.

It could involve Justin McCarthy himself making contact with some players in a bid to strengthen his squad ahead of the Munster championship. The Limerick executive met last night to review events of the previous 48 hours that included a resounding vote of confidence to stick with McCarthy as manager.

But they are also understood to be keen that McCarthy should make some of the running directly in trying to encourage those players back. Movement is expected today and tomorrow in a bid to get some members of the 2009 squad to return, but the prospects are still thought to be unlikely.

The vote to retain McCarthy was a significant defeat for the '09 players, who would have expected greater support for their stance in the wake of a thumping loss to Tipperary only two days earlier.

None of the senior players who have exiled themselves over the manner of McCarthy's purge of the 2009 squad are likely to return, but mixed messages have been emanating from the disaffected group.

Nothing reflected that more in the last 48 hours than the position of Mark Foley, who indicated in an interview that a phone call and an apology from Justin McCarthy would be welcome and should be treated positively. This was taken as a sign from Limerick's most experienced player that a peace deal could be struck.

But within hours of that interview, Foley had moved to clarify that while an apology would be welcomed and treated positively, it still would not change the players' resolve not to return.


Foley has acknowledged that he has now played his last game of hurling for Limerick, some 15 years on from his debut. Damien Reale and Seamus Hickey have also firmly ruled out a return, while Brian Geary, Brian Murray and Donal O'Grady would also be expected to hold the line.

The players who may be under most pressure to come back are Gavin O'Mahony, who was thought to be close to it a few weeks ago, and James Ryan, a county coach, which leaves him in an awkward position, given the strength of the mandate the board have given McCarthy.

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