Wednesday 23 October 2019

Off The Ball: GAA managers merely facilitators for players to succeed

Galway's Anthony Cunningham fired off the strongest parting shot from a manager in years
Galway's Anthony Cunningham fired off the strongest parting shot from a manager in years

Michael McCarthy

I've no idea whether Anthony Cunningham was treated fairly by the Galway hurlers.

He certainly didn't think so. His statement on Monday was the strongest parting shot I've seen from a manager.

"I consider this a kangaroo court decision, led by a core group of players orchestrated with the help of others outside Galway... There is national danger now that the democratic and voluntary ethos of the GAA is being overrun by groups of players that wish to indulge in the selection and termination of management."

On a human level, you have to feel sorry for anyone who put such effort into a job, coming so close to completing it, only to be jettisoned by the people he's in charge of. That can't be easy.

But I have a major issue with some of this statement. Managers exist to help the players to achieve their goals. If the players don't want you, and can't work under you, you have no role, no mandate.

The "democratic and voluntary" ethos are faceless county board executives and club delegates. Why are they better suited to make these decisions than the ones in the coalface who know where they fell short in the last five years?

The Galway hurlers are a group of amateur players giving their time to try and win an All-Ireland for their county. They are the most important people in this equation. If they don't think Cunningham (left) is the right man to lead them to this, shouldn't they be the strongest voice of them all?

Nobody is forcing them to play. It's not their job. They can stop in the morning. Aren't they entitled to the represent their county under what they consider the best circumstances?

Inter-county GAA managers need to be strong characters with big personalities. But really, they are there to be facilitators. The Galway players no longer think he can facilitate them in winning an All-Ireland. That's all that matters.

Irish Independent

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